Donald Trump’s decision to take his signature off the Charlevoix G7 summit communique is one of the most flagrant manufactured crises ever perpetrated by an American administration against an ally. In its blatant duplicity, it is right up there with the Bush administration’s invented weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Canadians watching Mr. Trump and his officials, post-summit, insultingly call Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “dishonest and weak” and accuse him of stabbing the President in the back can rest assured that none of that is true.
What did happen is that Mr. Trump set an antagonistic tone for the summit by announcing, just prior to it, steep tariffs on Canadian and European steel and aluminum. He again raised the stakes on the first day of the summit when he said Russia should be readmitted into the informal group (it was expelled in 2014 after its illegal annexation of Crimea).
In that chilly climate, the leaders of the G7 countries were nonetheless able to produce a communique filled with the usual boilerplate about a wide range of earnest aspirations.
But then Mr. Trudeau, in a post-summit news conference, reaffirmed Canada would impose retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. on July 1. He also called the American tariffs on our steel and aluminum “insulting,” an accurate comment given the U.S. is imposing them on the grounds of national security.
What the vain and delicate Mr. Trump apparently expected Mr. Trudeau to say was that the summit was a success due entirely to the President’s generous participation, and that a grateful, moist-eyed Canada would no longer retaliate against his unjustified tariffs.
Instead, the Prime Minister stood up for Canadian interests, and against Mr. Trump’s wanton unreliability as a trading partner and ally. Hence the outrage and amateurish name-calling, and the disavowal of the communique.
Relations between two of the world’s closest allies are now at a perilous low. The fault rests entirely with Mr. Trump and his advisers. Our government has been patient with the President and his protectionist agenda. So too have Canadians, but this is getting tiresome. We are a polite people, but the President will learn that, when roused, we don’t roll over at the request of an insulting bully, no matter how big.