Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

An all-out trade war looms as Donald Trump and his advisers lashed out at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for declaring Canada won’t be “pushed around” by the U.S. President over the contentious tariff dispute on steel and aluminum.

An infuriated Mr. Trump called the Prime Minister “very dishonest and weak” on Twitter Saturday, threatened to impose tariffs on automobiles and dispatched top aides to U.S. network shows on Sunday to lambaste Mr. Trudeau as a “backstabber” who deserved a “special place in hell.”

In the wake of the confrontation, G7 leaders, Mr. Trudeau’s political opponents at home and a number of U.S. politicians rallied around the Prime Minister

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Trudeau avoided the media on Sunday, but Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters in Quebec City that Ottawa would not engage in a war of words with the Trump administration. Ms. Freeland spoke to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sunday, and is expected to meet with him again on Wednesday in Washington.

“Canada does not conduct its diplomacy through ad hominem attacks. We don’t think that that is a useful or productive way to do business,” Ms. Freeland said.

But she said that Ottawa won’t be bullied and will hit back with $16-billion of retaliatory tariffs if the U.S. does not rescind its penalties on steel and aluminum imposed last week.

“Our retaliatory tariffs will come into effect – perfectly reciprocal, perfectly measured, a dollar-for-dollar response – on July 1, which is Canada Day, perhaps not inappropriate,” she said.

Opinion: What can Trudeau do about Trump the bully? Absolutely nothing

Globe editorial: Donald Trump insults Canada, and tests its patience

NAFTA’s saga so far: A guide to trade, the talks and Trump

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Trump continued his Twitter attacks Monday on the Prime Minister, saying that “Justin acts hurt when called out.” The U.S. President also claimed that Canada had bragged about making “almost 100 Billion Dollars in Trade” with the United States, while failing to specify what document he was citing.

Mr. Trump also targeted the G7’s trade efforts, tweeting Monday “Fair trade is now to be called fool trade if it is not reciprocal,” also saying “Sorry, we cannot let our friends, or enemies, take advantage of us on trade anymore. We must put the American worker first!”

Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told CNN on Sunday that the President was furious after he left the G7 summit early and learned that Mr. Trudeau had told a wrap-up news conference that Canada would not be “pushed around.”

In an extraordinary assault on one of America‘s closest allies, Mr. Kudlow accused the Prime Minister of betraying the U.S. President and making him look weak on the eve of the historic summit with North Korea.

“He really kind of stabbed us in the back,” Mr. Kudlow said and emphasized that the President “is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around. … He is not going to permit any show of weakness on a trip to negotiate with North Korea. … Kim must not see American weakness.”

Mr. Trudeau, along with other G7 leaders, had endorsed the President’s gamble to denuclearize North Korea.

Story continues below advertisement

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was even harsher, telling Fox News that there “was a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door and that is what Justin Trudeau did.”

In his Saturday tweet, Mr. Trump threatened to impose the same stiff tariffs on automobile exports from Canada and Europe – which would cripple the Canadian auto industry. Mr. Trump’s advisers warned that the North American free-trade deal was also in jeopardy.

“That was one of the worst political miscalculations in Canadian history,” Mr. Navarro said, while Mr. Kudlow added: “How many times has the President said ‘if you hit me, I will hit you back.’ ”

A senior Canadian official said that Mr. Trump’s outburst came out of left field, since Mr. Trudeau had already announced reciprocal tariffs last week. Canada is uncertain whether the dispute could lead to a trade war and is particularly concerned if the U.S. imposes tariffs on Canadian autos, which the official said would be disastrous for both countries.

Ms. Freeland brushed off the White House tirades and discounted the threat that NAFTA is dead.

Mr. Trump said on Saturday that a deal was “close” on a sunset clause that would reopen NAFTA after five years, but Mr. Trudeau later refuted the President, saying Canada could never agree to that provision.

Story continues below advertisement

“A trade deal with a sunset clause is not a trade deal and therefore we will not accept a sunset clause of five, ten or whatever duration that is proposed by the President,” Mr. Trudeau said.

The U.S.-Canada rift erupted after Mr. Trump left the G7 summit to head to his much-anticipated meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

At a news conference, Mr. Trudeau condemned the President’s steel and aluminum actions as destructive and even illegal. Mr. Trump was on Air Force One en route to that meeting in Singapore on Saturday when he fired off two blistering tweets.

He ordered U.S. officials to pull out of a joint G7 communiqué that spoke about fair and balanced trade and told them to examine the imposition of tariffs on foreign automobiles coming into the U.S. market.

“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’ ” Mr. Trump tweeted.

The senior Canadian official said other G7 leaders have rallied behind Mr. Trudeau. Key U.S. politicians and Canadian political opponents are also backing the Prime Minister.

Story continues below advertisement

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the G7 communiqué “via Twitter is of course sobering and a little depressing “ and warned that Europe will forge ahead with reciprocal tariffs like Canada.

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said: “International co-operation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks.”

U.S. Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein called Mr. Trump’s outburst “a big mistake,” while Republican Senator John McCain said the President’s behaviour toward his G7 allies was wrong.

Appearing on Fox News on Sunday, former prime minister Stephen Harper urged Mr. Trump to stop picking trade fights with Canada and join forces to push China to open its markets.

“Us fighting over our trade relationship when the Chinese have a four-to-one imbalance with both of us is, in my judgment, just the wrong priority,” he said.

NDP MP Charlie Angus called Mr. Trump a “small-minded man not fit for public office. Canada will not be pushed around by his circus-thug bluster.” Incoming Ontario Conservative premier Doug Ford said he “stood shoulder to shoulder” with Mr. Trudeau as did Alberta’s United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Trump, who arrived late and left the G7 summit, in La Malbaie, Que., early, was unmoved by concerted efforts to persuade him to reverse his tariffs. He warned that Canadian and European reciprocal tariffs aimed at U.S. goods and services would be met with new levies.

“We are like the piggy bank that everyone is robbing and that ends,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Saturday.

Before departing for Singapore, Mr.Trump again called for Russia to be reinstated in the G7.

Mr. Harper, who led the charge to oust Russia from the G7 in 2014 after its annexation of Crimea, said President Vladimir Putin should not be allowed back into an alliance of liberal democracies.

“This is a man who kills his political opponents. There is not a place around an allied table for a man like that,” he said.

With reports from The Associated Press

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly named Justin Trudeau’s spokesman as Ahmad Cameron. His name is Cameron Ahmad.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump by no means saw eye-to-eye on issues of trade at the G7 summit. Here are some of their competing statements edited together.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies