ROME – Justin Trudeau was tugged between dual loyalties spanning the Atlantic Ocean as he committed Tuesday to working with the United States and Europe for the economic good of all Canadians.
The prime minister was attempting to navigate the stormy transatlantic rift that has emerged between the U.S. and Europe following President Donald Trump’s debut at the G7 and NATO summits.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested there has been a disappointing shift in relations between Europe and the U.S. after the continent couldn’t reach a climate change deal with Trump at the G7.
Merkel said the time had come to for Europeans to “take our destiny into our own hands.”
As Trudeau wrapped his trip to Italy, following his appearance at the two summits, he touted the Canada-EU free trade deal as well as a commitment to climate change as ways to create jobs.
“We will always work together and highlight the shared values that are equally important on both sides of the Atlantic, including in the United States,” Trudeau said.
Unlike Merkel, who faces an election later this year and won’t win votes if she sides with Trump, Trudeau must build bridges with the mercurial U.S. president because Canada is economically intertwined with its No. 1 trading partner.
Canada will join the U.S. and Mexico at the bargaining table later this summer to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Though Trump is no fan of liberalized trade or climate change accords, Trudeau made clear he would defend the merits of both by continuing to argue – as he has tried to constructively with Trump – that both are good for economic growth.
“The way we can work on that together where we have discussions, where we agree, is going to continue to be based in openness, in frankness, in robust exchanges,” said Trudeau.