Now that the ideologies of the two countries are finally balanced again, Trudeau has an important message for Americans before November
Every American President for the last hundred years has stated that America has no better friend than Canada. Predictably, every Canadian Prime Minister over that same time period has said Canada has no better friend than America. Ah, the United States and Canada; a match made in heaven for the benefit of all North Americans.
Okay, enough with the bullshit. If you saw President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau together last week in Washington, you may have thought our countries just got married, but what really happened was our countries got re-engaged.
The relationship between the United States and Canada has seen its share of very rocky ground. During various visits to Washington back in the 1970s, it was President Nixon hosting Justin’s father Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
The Nixon tapes revealed he had called the senior Trudeau a son of a bitch, pompous egghead and an asshole. The two men didn’t agree on much back then. There were huge divisions between them both, particularly over the Vietnam War and trade. When learning of the insults, Pierre Trudeau famously replied “I have been called worse things by better people.”
Interestingly enough, at a state dinner in Ottawa in 1972, when Justin Trudeau was just a few months old, President Nixon toasted Justin’s arrival, and joked that Pierre Trudeau’s son would himself become prime minister someday.
The early 1980s saw a lot of friction between Trudeau, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher. The two people largely responsible for the decade’s conservative revolution didn’t get along too well with the liberal Prime Minister. As Trump would say, “it was a complete disaster.” And was one of the low points in Canada-US relations until George W. Bush came into power.
1997 was actually the last time a Canadian leader was invited to the United States on an official visit. Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Democratic President Bill Clinton had their differences but got along fairly well. That was nearly twenty years ago.
In the time since, the two countries have lived through two very divisive leaders. George W. Bush in America and Stephen Harper in Canada, both of whom were paired with their opposite ideology for much of their reign.
In the early 2000’s, as Bush and Cheney began building up support to invade Iraq by lying to the American people and the world, Prime minister Chrétien was having none of it. You could say he was a member of the coalition of the unwilling along with France, Germany and countless others. Relations never really improved after that.
There was a brief period between 2006, when Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper was first elected, and 2008 when Barack Obama was first elected where the countries were on the same ideological playing field.
However, because Harper had limited power in his minority government and Canadians were still sour over the Iraq war in which Harper supported, Stephen Harper had to try and look like he was keeping his distance from Bush even though he practically worshipped the man.
Two weeks before Obama won the White House, Stephen Harper won his second minority government (and would eventually win a majority in 2011). At the time I felt as if all the bullshit that come out of the Bush Administration had somehow moved up north and stayed for close to a decade.
The Climate change denial, the trickle-down economics, the bigotry toward Muslims and gays had been flip-flopping back and forth between the United States and Canada for sixteen years. Surely something had to give, and it did.
I may not have voted for the man, but when Justin Trudeau was elected back in October I knew things were about to change for the better. The state dinner that Barrack Obama put on for Trudeau was the start of that change.
“Last night’s state dinner was just wonderful. It was a coming together of friends who have much in common, much to celebrate. And not just at the head table, but across and throughout the room.” – Justin Trudeau.
One complaint Canadians have towards their southern neighbors is the little attention Americans give towards the rest of the world. A sentiment not lost on Trudeau who said as much on his 60 minutes interview a few days earlier.
The reason I bring that up is because most Americans never got to see how Trudeau got elected back in October. He ran his campaign clean, free of attack ads, free of fear mongering and free of hate. The opposite of what Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party tried to do.
With Obama set to retire next January, the United States and Canada are almost assured to have one exceptional year of friendship. In fact this recent get together in Washington already netted positive results concerning climate change, protect the Arctic and addressing border-related measures that will ease the movement of people and goods.
However, if Americans refuse to use Trudeau and his fellow Canadians as an example come election day and give in to all the hate, fear and bigotry being spread by conservatives, the re-engagement party will once again be short lived if and when Donald Trump assumes the Presidency.
“Fear doesn’t make us safer, it makes us weaker. At this time, when there is reason to be concerned for security around the world and here at home, we need to remain focused on keeping our communities safe and keeping our communities united instead of trying to build walls and scapegoat communities.” – Justin Trudeau.