Justin Trudeau defends open refugee policy to Donald Trump at meeting

Feb 14, 2017, 00:30
Justin Trudeau defends open refugee policy to Donald Trump at meeting

"That wasn't the only reason, that wasn't my only thing that we did so well on, but that was something that was very important", Trump said.

"We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada".

"We fought in conflict zones together, negotiated environmental treaties together ... and we've entered into ground-breaking economic partnerships that have created good jobs for both of our peoples". The last few days have shown us the two approaches that are likely to become most common.

The statement acknowledges that Canada is a vital foreign market for some 35 USA states, with more than $2 billion flowing across the border each day.

Experts have said they expect the meeting to be a somewhat awkward one, given the stark contrast in the two leaders' political leanings.

"We're dealing with someone who has abused the Mexican president and the Australian prime minister", Robert Bothwell, a professor at the University of Toronto, told the Associated Press, referring to Trump.

Although Mr Trudeau did not directly criticise the President for the Muslim ban, he made it clear that Canada would continue to welcome refugees without compromising national security.

The focus of discussions will be Trump's determination to put "America first" and rip up the North America Free Trade Agreement, as well as differences over immigration.

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Canada has more to lose if a renegotiation of NAFTA slows the pace of cross-border trade.

Trudeau sought to emphasize the positive, but admitted he was anxious about Trump's calls to renegotiate NAFTA.

The Washington Post, citing unidentified senior USA officials, said Trump abruptly ended the call and said it was the "worst call by far" he had had with a foreign leader, even though Australia has always been a staunch US ally.

"This is a profound misunderstanding of history, a profound misunderstanding of the role of the prime minister of Canada".

Oil and gas, for example, make up more than a quarter of Canadian exports to the US - almost $100 billion a year.

Trudeau is the third foreign leader received by the Republican billionaire since he took office on January 20, following meetings with Britain's Theresa May and Japan's Shinzo Abe.

Maybe even better, though, is this video of the two shaking hands, in which Trudeau appears to be entirely prepared for Trump's weird, macho handshake techniques.

Paris said he thinks that may be a point of tension between the two men but thinks Trudeau can manage it. It is my honour to host such a great friend, neighbour and ally at the White House, a very special place.