Trump re-election ‘won’t be easy’ for Canada, says PM Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau has said that if Donald Trump is re-elected as US president, it will not “be easy” for Canada.

The Canadian prime minister said that the former president returning to the White Housewould be a “step back” and a “victory of populism”, in remarks made on Tuesday.

It comes after Mr Trump – the clear GOP frontrunner – scored a decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night.

Many have speculated that the win puts him in good stead to secure the Republican nomination – taking him one step closer on his path back to the Oval Office.

Mr Trudeau, whose centre-left Liberals came to power in November 2015, had rocky relations with Mr Trump during his first four-year White House term. In 2018, the former president accused him of being weak and dishonest.

“It wasn’t easy the first time and if there is a second time, it won’t be easy either,” Mr Trudeau said in French during a discussion hosted by the Montreal chamber of commerce.

“But we can’t imagine a day when it will ever be easy with the Americans. The main responsibility for any prime minister is to represent and defend Canada’s interests … we’ve been able to do this very well these past few years.”

Canada sends 75% of its goods and services exports to the United States and is particularly vulnerable to any US shift toward protectionism.

According to Reutersin a survey this month, around two-thirds of Canadians surveyed said they did not think US democracy could survive another four years of Trump in power.

Around half said the US is on the way to becoming an authoritarian state, the poll, which was released on Monday, stated.

Mr Trudeau added that a win for Mr Trump would be “a step back” and a victory for “a populism that reflects a lot of anguish and fury … without necessarily providing solutions”.

He said that Mr Trump also had shown little interest in tackling climate change, in contrast to the Liberals, for whom it is a priority.

“There are clearly issues where I do not agree at all with Mr. Trump,” Mr Trudeau said, citing the climate question, per Reuters.

The remarks by the Canadian prime minister come shortly after a similar sentiment was shared by the president of the European Central Bank.

Last week, Christine Lagarde warned that the re-election of Mr Trump would be a threat to Europe.

In an interview with France 2 TV, she said the way Mr Trump conducted his first term as president was enough to raise concerns over his potential return to power.

“If we should learn lessons from history, from the way he led the first four years of his mandate, it is clearly a threat,” Ms Lagarde said during the interview.

“It’s sufficient to look at the trade tariffs, the commitment to Nato, the fight against climate change. In just these three areas, in the past [under Trump], US interests were not aligned with European interests.”

Observers said Ms Lagarde’s comments marked a departure from the customary practice of central bank’s leaders to avoid involvement in political matters.

Trudeau had rocky relations with Trump during his first four-year White House term

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