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COMMENTARY: Canadians should stand united in our trade war with Trump

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. The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick

On this week’s episode of Global News’ original podcast, This is Why, I chat with its host, Niki Reitmayer, about why Canadians of all political backgrounds are standing up against U.S. President Donald Trump. Take a listen and subscribe:

But first, I want to ask whether you can think of a single foreign leader who brought the entire country together?

I was just a teen in the summer of 1967, 51 years ago, when a fellow named Charles de Gaulle, then the president of France, came to my hometown of Montreal and seemed to be flirting with Quebec separatists from a balcony at Montreal City Hall. I remember him bellowing the slogan “Vive le Québec libre,” loosely translated as “long live a free Québec.”

Balcony opens to public 50 years after Charles de Gaulle’s speech
Balcony opens to public 50 years after Charles de Gaulle’s speech

WATCH: Balcony opens to public 50 years after Charles de Gaulle’s speech

It was an insult to all Canadians, and an insult to his host, Montreal’s then-mayor Jean Drapeau. Drapeau was visibly embarrassed and later publicly dressed down the president of France.

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It was one of those moments where a foreign leader really brought the country together.

De Gaulle insulted Canada. He insulted how we felt about our country. Merci beaucoup, president de Gaulle, for reminding me who we were and who we weren’t.

That was half a century ago.

There may have been some other foreign leaders in the last half-century who brought our country together. But I can’t think of any.

READ MORE: Loonie slumps after G7 summit as Trump launches verbal attack on Trudeau

I will never forget this past weekend, and Trump hissy tweeting from Air Force One after the G7 summit, taking shots at a person who almost never has my political support.

That would be our prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

Trump accused the prime minister of being weak, two-faced and knifing him in the back after the president had left the summit.

READ MORE: Donald Trump slams Trudeau (again), says PM will cost Canadians ‘a lot of money’

So the first thing I did after he tweeted all this was to go over, word for word, what the PM had said at this news conference that really set off the president. Nothing jumped off the page for me.

He said Canadians were polite folks but we won’t be pushed around. He had said much the same before. He said almost exactly the same thing last week on Meet the Press.

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Trudeau calls Trump tariffs ‘insulting and unacceptable’
Trudeau calls Trump tariffs ‘insulting and unacceptable’

WATCH: Trudeau calls Trump tariffs ‘insulting and unacceptable’

So why did Trump say what he said?

The only thing I could figure out was that his mind was very much on his meeting with the North Korean dictator. He wanted to make sure Kim Jong Un, and the world in general, see Donald Trump as a big man.

How will the Trudeau-Trump fallout affect NAFTA negotiations?
How will the Trudeau-Trump fallout affect NAFTA negotiations?

WATCH: How will the Trudeau-Trump fallout affect NAFTA negotiations?

Trudeau took charge of that summit and became the star while Trump became his piñata. Trump was never going to like that narrative.

I have been very privileged throughout my career, but I can’t recall a single ribbon, medal or trophy that means more to me than my Canadian citizenship card.

So while I’m not the president of Justin Trudeau’s fan club, when a foreign leader attacks my prime minister, I’ll defend my prime minister.

Charles Adler hosts Charles Adler Tonight on Global News Radio and is a columnist for Global News.

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