Canadians expect Trudeau to stand up to Donald Trump: Poll

Poll found majority of Canadians wouldn’t mind a possible trade war with the US

by: Obert Madondo |  | Published February 8, 2017, by The Canadian Progressive

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau interacts with students from W.B. Patterson Elementary School just after landing in Washington, D.C., for his first official visit to the White House in March 2016. Photo: Prime Minister of Canada.

Most Canadians aren’t on board with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s continuing efforts to turn the machinery of the Canadian government “toward finding a way to get along” with U.S. President Donald Trump.

A Nanos poll conducted between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1 found that most Canadians expect Trudeau to have the spine to defend Canada against Trump’s aggressive America-first strategy. In fact, the poll found that 58 per cent of Canadians surveyed wouldn’t mind “having a trade war with the U.S. if the U.S. puts new tariffs on Canadian goods entering the U.S.”

The poll also found that 57 per cent of Canadians expect the Trudeau government to protect Canada’s economic interests if the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is renegotiated. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump labeled NAFTA “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere”.

According to CNN, in January, Trump reiterated that talks on renegotiating NAFTA would begin soon, and, if the “talks don’t go well, the White House says it plans to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA.”

Finally, according to the poll, 53 per cent of Canadians oppose the idea of “reducing tax rates on corporations to mirror the expected lower corporate taxes to be introduced” by the Trump administration.

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Trudeau will visit Trump in Washington, D.C. next week.

While other world leaders such as Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have publicly criticized Trump for controversial policies and actions such as the Executive Order banning Muslims from seven countries from entering the United States, Trudeau has remained largely silent.

To be fair, Merkel, Hollande and other leaders have had a reason to criticize the American president. On the campaign trail, Trump railed against globalization. He singled out China and Mexico as enemies, risking a global trade war. Some in Germany believed that their country will be third on Trump’s hit list. The president’s first week in the White House left no doubt that America-first policies would trump globalization, free trade and human rights. US corporations must maximize profits and minimize costs. Corporate taxes will be lowered.

If there has been a single bad word about Canada from Trump, it escaped my radar. Even then, it’d appear Trudeau hasn’t exactly figured out how to deal with Trump.

“Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has been conferring with other world leaders on how best to engage with Donald Trump as he prepares for an upcoming visit with the unpredictable new president,” the Guardian (UK) reported Wednesday. According to the publication, when he spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May over the weekend, Trudeau “mined her for information on her recent visit to the White House”.

Is Justin Trudeau capable and willing to live up to Canadians’ expressed expectations and stand up to Trump?

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Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.