Justin Trudeau is gathering his cabinet in Montreal for three days before parliamentary work resumes after the winter recess. On the agenda: Prepare Canada for a Trump return to power, which appears increasingly likely.
Trudeau had a difficult relationship with Trump during his first term in office. He recently told the Montreal Chamber of Commerce that his return to the White House would be a “step backwards” and “won't be easy” for Canada.
Relations between Trump and Trudeau deteriorated at the G7 summit in Charlevoix in 2018, when Trump even went so far as to accuse Trudeau of weakness and dishonesty before blaming him for the summit's failure.
If Trump returns to power, Canadian officials face an even more difficult relationship with him, warned Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director. He told CTV that the former president was “very jealous of Justin Trudeau.” It bothers him that Trudeau is “younger and much prettier than him.”
Most analysts – myself included – believe a second Trump mandate would be just as bad for Canada as the first and even worse. Canadians as a whole are also pessimistic about Trump.
A third of Canadians for Trump
According to a recent Angus Reid poll, about two-thirds of Canadians believe American democracy will not survive another four years of Trump in the White House. And around half of those surveyed say that our southern neighbor is becoming an authoritarian state.
While 67% of Canadians support Biden, 33% of them support Trump, which is troubling and concerning. A higher approval rating than Justin Trudeau's, 31%.
What to do against Trump?
Can Canada prepare for a new Trump administration? “No,” said Professor Thomas Juneau, an international relations specialist at the University of Ottawa. “No one can be ready because it would be so unpredictable. »
One of Trump's favorite targets that we will have a hard time defending is the free trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico, which is scheduled to be renewed in July 2026. Canada is particularly vulnerable to any protectionist turn by the United States. The goods and services it exports go to the United States.
A return of Trump also means pressure to increase our defense spending, particularly in the United States. We participate with the United States in NORAD (North American Air Defense) and the “Five Eyes” global electronic espionage network. As for NATO, it is not clear whether Trump wants to stay there.
Trudeau and Trump also completely disagree on environmental issues. The Liberals have made fighting climate change a priority. Trudeau speaks of the “four wasted years” of the Trump administration, which refuses to even acknowledge that there is global warming that threatens the planet.
Trudeau compared Trump's candidacy for the presidency of the United States to the rise of Pierre Poilievre in Canada. However, the conservative leader is “to the left” of Trump on many issues and is clearly more coherent than the uneducated American self-centered megalomaniac.