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Bill Kelly: Trudeau takes a pass on Trump photo op

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right to left, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, President of the United States Donald Trump, Mexico's Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto participate in a signing ceremony for the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made it official: he will not be travelling to Washington to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the new NAFTA — or USMCA or CUSMA or whatever they’re calling the latest North American trade deal these days — and good on him for saying thanks but no thanks.

The official explanation from the Prime Minister’s Office is that Trudeau is committed to an important cabinet session to discuss the government’s forthcoming economic statement and he will attend the upcoming session of Parliament.

Read more: Trudeau won’t visit Washington to mark new NAFTA, Mexican president says

Both seem to be reasonable explanations. In light of aggressive COVID-19 spending, we need some clarity about the country’s financial status and we have few sittings of Parliament these days, so it would behoove the PM to take a pass on Washington and stay in Ottawa.

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But let’s cut to the bottom line: Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump really don’t like each other.

That’s not unusual in politics. Pierre Trudeau and Richard Nixon had a mutual disgust for each other, and Lyndon B. Johnson and Lester Pearson shared the same kind of antagonistic relationship.

But Trump doesn’t just dislike Trudeau, he dislikes Canada.

His vengeful implementation of steel and aluminum tariffs were hurtful, and now we’re hearing that Trump may reimpose aluminum tariffs on Canada just because he can.

Read more: CUSMA just took effect. Here’s why Canada is facing new tariff threats from the U.S.

So, why should our prime minister take part in what is only a glorified photo op with a disgraced American president who seems to be headed for defeat in November?

Stay home, Mr. Prime Minister. Hopefully, the Trump nightmare will soon be over, and we can reinstate respect and civility in Canada-U.S. relations.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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