The Canadian parliament just took unprecedented action in response to Trump’s attacks on Justin Trudeau

Political parties on all sides in the Canadian Parliament have joined together in a historic condemnation of the American president in response to the personal attacks on Candian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and passed a motion supporting Canadian steel and aluminum companies impacted by new U.S. tariffs.

The usually polite members of the Canadian House of Commons also passed a motion introduced by the political opposition directly aimed at comments by Trump. 

The motion rejected “disparaging ad hominem statements by U.S. officials which do a disservice to bilateral relations.”

The symbolic broadside passed unanimously although Trudeau did not attend the session and only made a statement on the North Korean summit that said “We support the continuing efforts by the president on North Korea, [and] we look forward to looking at the details of the agreement,” Trudeau said.

Asked about comments by Trump and his advisors attacking Trudeau, who the American president called “very dishonest and weak,” Trudeau also took the high ground.

“On [Trump’s] comments,” responded Trudeau, “I’m going to stay focused on defending jobs for Canadians and supporting Canadian interests.”

Trump threatened not just Trudeau but all Canadians with economic retaliation: “that’s going to cost the people of Canada a lot of money.”

Trump is alluding to additional tariffs, possibly on the import of cars manufactured in Canada and old in the U.S. which would hit American consumers as well, as a way to “punish” Canada and Trudeau. 

Trudeau made clear that Canada will impose new tariffs on American products coming across the border that are as tough as those Trump is imposing.

“It would be with great regret but it would be with absolute certainty and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on July 1st,” said Trudeau, “applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that the Americans have unjustly applied to us.”

Trump mocked Trudeau in his comments before leaving Singapore, declaring the Canadian leader gave “a news conference about how he will not be pushed around by the United States. And I say, push him around? We just shook hands. It was very friendly.”

Trudeau responded, “I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do, because Canadians: we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”

The NAFTA North American trade agreement remains unsettled as Trump demands concessions from both Canada and Mexico.

Trump is plotting even more tariffs that appear to have the world on course for a trade war that may well have devastating results all over the globe, ushing in another economic recession.

Trump mistakes Trudeau’s politeness for acquiescence and then is angry when he can’t just steamroll Canada into doing whatever he wants. 

With both major Canadian political parties and the Parliment unified in backing Trudeau, the chances of Trump’s bullying bringing a positive outcome is highly unlikely. 

Trump may love authoritarians and dictators who can just demand what they want but the U.S. and Canada are democracies with a long history of friendship, partnership, mutual respect and co-security efforts that Trump seems to be diminishing. 

What the Canadian Parliment has done may be symbolic but the impact on both countries and the world is likely to be very real and quite awful.

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.