Trudeau trumps naysayers with moderate tone

In the face of uncertainty over Canada's relationship with the United States, the prime minister chooses to reach out to Trump

NEW YORK, Jan. 8, 2017/ Troy Media/ – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wait-and-see approach to dealing with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has been exactly the right strategy – and it puts him in the unusual position of appearing to be the only adult in the room.

You’re excused for thinking that Trudeau, the world poster boy for the progressive ideals of inclusion, might be writhing in globalist agony at the prospect of working with a man as extreme as Trump is perceived to be.


In fact, l’enfant Trudeau is finally showing the kind of statesmanlike moderation that many thought was beyond him. He’s showing why many consider the Liberals Canada’s natural governing party: because of their pragmatism and ideological flexibility when it comes to dealing with real issues.

The relationship between Canada and the United States is as real as it gets when it comes to our economic, social and cultural well-being. Like it or not, in terms of national security – with all its attendant military attributes – the U.S. is the de facto sponsor and defender of our freedom and way of life.

Sounds like a good enough reason to keep things cordial. It’s also the main reason to be forward-thinking when it comes to defining our respective expectations in a way that maximizes mutual interests while maintaining and even strengthening a century-and-a-half-old partnership.

At his worst and most annoying, Trudeau is prone to lecturing. He can make unsolicited and unwanted observations that often take the form of advice from the pulpit of progressivism. But Liberal prime ministers have historically shown the ability to separate their penchant for abstract rhetoric from practical actions.

After Trump’s unanticipated victory, Trudeau took the considered road of pragmatism. He released a statement that said: “Canada has no closer friend, partner and ally than the United States.” And he said that Ottawa looked forward to working “very closely with president-elect Trump, his administration and with the United States Congress in the years ahead, including on issues such as trade, investment, and international peace and security.”

He ended by saying: “The relationship between our two countries serves as a model for the world. Our shared values, deep cultural ties, and strong integrated economies will continue to provide the basis for advancing our strong and prosperous partnership.”

Trudeau came under some criticism for swiftly suggesting that Canada was open to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. But saying so in no way binds him to doing so. Nor does it, as has been suggested, in any way weaken Canada’s eventual position back at the table.

What it does is send a signal to a businessman-president that Canada can be counted on to evaluate any proposed modifications on a transactional basis and would not be deaf to changes simply out of petty intransigence.

It’s not just positivity that motivates Trudeau to strike a welcoming tone. It’s no secret that one of the areas where Trudeau and his soon-to-be-departed best buddy President Barack Obama disagreed was on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Trump’s victory resurrects Keystone and Trudeau shrewdly wants to take advantage.

No one knows for certain what a Trump presidency will look like. But what’s certain is that our prosperity and security are so intertwined as to be inseparable. By allowing events to play out in their own good time, Trudeau is laying the foundation for continued good relations.

By resisting the urge to take a holier-than-thou stance and join the braying mob on the left spouting doom and gloom prophesies regarding Trump, Trudeau is positioning Canada to take full advantage of the new way of doing business emanating from Washington.

Troy Media columnist Gavin MacFadyen is a Canada-raised, U.S.-based writer and occasional lawyer. Blending insight and wit, he brings a unique perspective to the issues of the day. Gavin is included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan.

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