“It’s too soon to tell how this will go” was the title of my newspaper column on Feb. 14, 2017. Ironically it was a Valentine’s Day post about the relationship between new U.S. president and Canada’s prime minister.
Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau had just met at the White House during what seemed to be a positive sit down. I wrote, “…if one of the men starts to pressure the other – and I think we know who is more likely to do that aggressively between the two – then it could potentially become a problem.”
I added, “Does either country pose a threat to the other? Not really, as far as I have heard.” In recent weeks Trump disputed that, saying Canada is a security threat which is why new tariffs on the country were put into place. Of course, Canadian responded with equal tariffs.
The timing was perfect then for last weekend’s G7 Summit in Quebec. Other world leaders, by all accounts, hit it off with Trudeau. Trump was the pouty one: arriving late, leaving early, then doing what he does on Twitter once he’s no longer face to face with his targets.
But for everything that he said about Canada and Trudeau, Trump maintained everyone else is doing his country wrong — except him. He’s making miracles happen, even gunning for a Nobel Peace Prize.
In case you missed it, Trump tweeted, “PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, “US Tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around.” Very dishonest & weak.”
Back to my February 2017 column: “So unlike most people chiming in on the whole political landscape, I really reserve my opinion until something happens between the countries. There is no sense in getting worked up now when who knows what tomorrow will bring.”
Fast forward to June 2018 when it was Trump who had a tantrum, his weekend rant made me look at his entire country negatively. I realize that his opinion about Canada is solely his (for the most part), but his comments made me think, “Wow, I hate the United States now.”
I spend a lot of time there for work. I cover entertainment events and produce travel broadcasts encouraging people to visit the area. It made me pause and say, “Are they not our friend anymore? Should I stop promoting the U.S.?” Worse yet, I asked myself, “Do I want to go back there”?
Is this the beginning of the end of our friendly relationship? Knowing most Americans don’t side with their president, is his message enough to make Canadians say, “You’re dead to us?”
Back to 2017 when I concluded with a statement I stand behind today.
“It’s our non-confrontational and laid-back attitudes that make Canadians wonderful people and the country a welcoming place for people to visit. If that makes us losers in the eyes of others because we won’t be combative and verbally attack complete strangers, hey, I’ll take it. Let’s be proud of our positive reputation, fellow losers.”