U.S. President Donald Trump’s blistering attack on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has driven bilateral relations to their lowest point in decades and left Ottawa with few options for averting a trade war with its much bigger neighbor.
Trump blew apart a G7 summit in Canada over the weekend, blasting Trudeau as “very dishonest and weak” and raising the prospect of tariffs against auto imports, a move that would imperil the Canadian economy.
His unexpected and extraordinary attack flummoxed Canadian officials, who have waged an 18-month campaign designed to cultivate allies among U.S. policymakers and business leaders in defense of Canada’s interests.
People close to the situation said they were disappointed the outreach had not been as productive as they hoped. The dispute weighed on the Canadian dollar on Monday.
Ottawa has promised to retaliate against Washington’s imposition of tariffs on metals imports from Canada, the largest supplier of steel to the United States. But Canada would face long odds winning a trade war against a country 10 times its size economically and which takes the majority of its exports.