March 13, 2018 12:55 pm
Updated: March 13, 2018 3:06 pm

Belgian officials brush off perceived snub as royals tour Canada without meeting Trudeau

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High-ranking Belgian officials are playing down a perceived snub of the Belgian king and queen by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the royal couple spends the week on a state visit to Canada.

Belgium’s deputy prime minister, who is also foreign affairs minister, says a meeting between Trudeau and the royal couple would have been preferred.

READ MORE: Belgian royals nearly greeted by German flag during Ottawa visit

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But in an interview today, Didier Reynders says he understands that the prime minister is dealing with more pressing political concerns; namely showing support for his country’s steel and aluminum industries.

Trudeau is on a cross-country tour of steel and aluminum factories in light of potential tariffs on the metals being imposed by the U.S. government, even though Canada and Mexico were granted a temporary exemption from the tariffs last week by U.S. President Donald Trump.

A government source, who requested anonymity, says Belgian officials were told well in advance of the planned visit by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde that Trudeau would likely be unavailable to meet with them this week.

But that message was relayed before the prime minister planned his outreach tour of cities that could be impacted by tariffs.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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