In the 18 months since Donald Trump won the presidential election, Justin Trudeau and his team have performed strongly on the Canada-US relationship.
Despite the volatility in the White House, to say nothing of the differences in style and ideology between Trudeau and Trump, the prime minister and his cabinet have avoided pitfalls and have put the best interests of the country first. There have been a few stumbles, like the “welcome to Canada” tweet after Trump’s ban on travel from Muslim countries. But on NAFTA, the government has shown patience and discipline.
Indeed, the Canada-US partnership has been one of Trudeau’s strongest files. Now, however, the relationship has taken a different turn. And the prime minister and his advisers face their greatest test. It might be tempting to score domestic political points by descending into a Twitter war with Trump. But that wouldn’t help Canadians now or later.
A trade war will be costly for Canadian consumers and businesses. Whether Canadians or the prime minister like Donald Trump, and whether he takes shots at Trudeau on Twitter, we need the relationship. Let’s hope Justin Trudeau remembers that.