Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is winning support from his political rivals in his feud with the Trump administration over G7 and trade, including incoming Ontario premier Doug Ford.
Ford, a populist campaigner who has praised U.S. President Donald Trump in the past, said he stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Canada’s Liberal prime minister because jobs in his province are at stake.
Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following the G7 on Saturday calling him “dishonest and weak.” In one message, Trump threatened Canada’s auto industry, a mainstay of the Ontario economy.
The tirade was enhanced by extensive comments Sunday from two of the president’s closest advisers who said prime minister betrayed Trump in comments Trudeau made at the end of the G7 summit in the Charlevoix region of Quebec.
They said Trudeau made Trump look weak ahead of his North Korea summit, with one adviser saying there’s a “special place in hell” for the prime minister.
Speaking to reporters at Queen’s Park on Sunday, Ford offered his support to Trudeau.
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“I can tell you on the trade deal south of the border, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister and our federal counterparts. My number one priority is to protect jobs in Ontario, especially protect the steel workers, aluminum workers.
“That’s going to be a priority,” Ford said.
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“We’re going to sit down with our federal counterparts. We’re going to stand united. I know all provinces should be standing united with our federal counterparts and we’ll deal with that.”
In her own tweet, Green Party leader Elizabeth May says Trudeau is handling what she calls Trump’s outbursts and bullying as well as anyone, and that all Canadian leaders need to support the prime minister.
Former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. Derek Burney is among those urging Canada and others to stay calm, adding that he hopes Trump’s latest antics will spark more “sober sentiments” in Congress and with others in the U.S.
“His main focus is clearly the Singapore Summit so the G7 was, for him, an unwelcome distraction,” said Burney, referring to the venue for Trump’s meeting with the North Korean leader.
“The contrast between the Trump at the table and via Twitter is unsettling, to be sure. But we have seen worse and can only remain calm, not respond in kind and continue to pursue our trade interests with prudence and firm resolve.”
European diplomats say the rest of the G7 will carry on despite Trump’s attacks against Trudeau and his decision to pull out of the final communique.
“Aren’t we all getting used to it?” posited one diplomat on the condition of anonymity. “The dog barks, the caravan moves on.”