Donald Trump has arrived in Quebec to attend some of the G7 summit — his first visit to Canada as U.S. president.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hosting the world’s most powerful countries at the two-day summit in La Malbaie, in Quebec’s Charlevoix region.
For the past week, it was an open question in official Ottawa whether Trump would actually show up, given his recent trade actions against the other G7 countries and his increasingly antagonistic comments about their approach to international relations.
He is not expected to stay till the end of the summit.
Earlier, Trump was provoking his fellow G7 leaders by calling for Russia’s reinstatement in the group, after it was kicked out for invading Ukraine four years ago.
“Why are we having a meeting without Russia in the meeting?” Trump said at the White House before departing.
“They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
That comment has Trump squarely offside with this fellow G7 leaders, including Canada, who view Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and its meddling in western elections as a major international security concern.
The U.S. president is lashing out on several fronts.
As he prepared to travel to Canada, he ramped up his blast of Canada on Twitter this morning over what he says are unfair trade practices as the U.S. president prepares to make his Canadian debut later today.
Just after 6 a.m., Trump used the social media platform to accuse Canada of charging U.S. customers with astronomical tariffs on dairy products.
“They didn’t tell you that, did they? Not fair to our farmers!,” his Twitter feed states.
The latest series of tweets by Trump follow posts he made last night — including his accusation that his host Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is being “indignant.”
In today’s postings, Trump says he is heading to Canada for G7 talks that will mostly centre on the longtime, unfair trade practices aimed at the United States.
“Looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries. If it doesn’t happen, we come out even better!,” he states.
Trump’s comments on agriculture, his imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs, as well as broader disagreements on trade, climate change and the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, are setting the stage for some tense G7 talks once Trump arrives at the summit in the Quebec town of La Malbaie.
Trudeau addressed the president’s Twitter blasts while visiting Quebec’s Saguenay region on Thursday.
“I’ve been firm, I’ve been clear, but I don’t think descending into insults is right for the way Canada engages with the world,” the prime minister said.
Trudeau said he would continue to stand up for Canadian dairy producers and the country’s supply management system.
Trudeau said he and Trump have disagreed over Trump’s call for Canada to open up its supply management system, which protects dairy, poultry and eggs farmers, during the difficult ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
— with files from Associated Press
Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press