In a newsletter last month, we pointed out the ways in which senior members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office had tried to forge personal ties with members of the Donald Trump administration in the U.S. Liberals said the connections were a good thing, as they worked to cool the President's hot protectionist rhetoric, while detractors said the progressive politics of the Canadians were totally opposed to the nationalist strains of the Trump camp. Of particular note was the relationship building between Gerald Butts, Mr. Trudeau's principal secretary, and Steve Bannon, then a senior adviser to Mr. Trump and a controversial figure on the American right's fringes. (Mr. Bannon has since left the President's employ. Things move fast down there.)
At The Globe and Mail, we regularly work with Nanos Research to try to tap the pulse of the Canadian public on issues of national importance. So we decided to ask: What do Canadians think about these relationships?
We asked: "Are you comfortable, somewhat comfortable, somewhat uncomfortable or uncomfortable with members of the Prime Minister's Office being friendly with members of the Trump administration in the United States?"
Thirty-five per cent of respondents said they were comfortable and 30 per cent said they were somewhat comfortable. Thirty-two per cent, total, chose one of the negative options. Just 3 per cent said they were unsure.
So no matter what your politics, this survey suggests Canadians see that level of diplomacy as a good thing.
The poll was conducted by Nanos Research using a hybrid phone-online method. One thousand Canadian adults were surveyed. The results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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Mr. Trudeau says the Canadian government is concerned about the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and personally pressed the issue with leader Aung San Suu Kyi when she was last in Ottawa. He stopped short of saying Canada would consider revoking her honorary Canadian citizenship or joining calls to have her Nobel Peace Prize taken away.
The Conservatives wrapped up their caucus retreat in Winnipeg and say they are ready to oppose the Liberals when the House comes back later this month.
In the NDP leadership race, former candidate and long-time MP Peter Julian has endorsed Jagmeet Singh.
As provinces prepare for the legalization of marijuana, sources in Ontario say that province is planning to sell the drug through government-operated retail stores.
And in the United States, Republican legislators and aides say they are unhappy that Donald Trump made a deal with Democrats to both extend the debt ceiling (a cap on government spending) and provide relief for areas hit by hurricanes. "This is what's wrong in Washington: They pile stuff together so you have to weigh the good versus the bad rather than give every issue individual consideration. That's the part of living in the swamp I don't like," said Blake Farenthold, a Republican Congressman from Texas.
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the challenges facing Canada's political parties: "What if the [NAFTA] talks fail and Mr. Trump withdraws the United States from the treaty, leading to economic instability and uncertainty? Will Canadians blame Mr. Trump or Mr. Trudeau for the economic fallout? If they blame Mr. Trudeau, will they turn to the Conservatives as more reliable managers of the economy, or the NDP as more earnest champions of Canadian values?"
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on persecution against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar: "It's fine for the Canadian government to call the violence against Rohingya in Myanmar a 'failure' of the country's government, as it did this week. But what it must do is to make it clear that Myanmar, with a government that is now essentially led by an icon of rights and democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, is violating the fundamental human rights of more than a million people."
Robyn Urback (CBC) on being a Canadian Trump supporter: "The problem here is a total disregard for cause and effect: to support Donald Trump's efforts in America is to de facto support endeavours that threaten Canada economically, socially and in terms of national security. Making America Great Again absolutely means Making Canada A Little Worse. What patriotic Canadian would wear a hat supporting that?"
Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic) on the race dimension of Trump's presidency: "Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president. And so it will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific—America's first white president."
Jonathan Tobin (National Review) on Trump's budget deal with Democrats: "While Trump's overall popularity continues to fall, the people who turn out to cheer him at rallies and who were responsible for his routing of his Republican rivals in the 2016 primaries aren't going to abandon him because he stabbed [Senate leader Mitch] McConnell and [House leader Paul] Ryan in the back. The Trump movement, to the extent that one can dignify it with that term, was never about any ideology, let alone conservatism. Neither Trump nor some of his most ardent backers had any interest in the Republican party that they seized in a hostile takeover. If he has no compunction about undermining the congressional Republicans he ostensibly needed to get his legislative agenda passed, it's because, at least as far as his most committed supporters are concerned, he is the object of a cult of personality, not the leader of a political party."