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Which PM Trudeau will President Trump be meeting Monday?

Trump’s pre-visit briefing could paint starkly different portraits of Canada’s prime minister


 
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with a Syrian refugee during Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, July 1, 2016. (Chris Wattie/REUTERS)

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with a Syrian refugee during Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, July 1, 2016. (Chris Wattie/REUTERS)

Donald Trump is known for his short attention span. It is so short, reportedly, that the president of the United States receives the daily intelligence briefing in bullet points.  Exactly what, or how much, briefing Trump has received before he meets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House on Monday is unknown. Based on Trudeau’s track record, however, that dossier could swing two ways: one, to indicate the two are at polar odds politically; two, to make their first meeting the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

Briefing that presents Trudeau as a immigration-loving, anti-Trumpian progressive:

In November 2015, Trudeau’s new government rolled out a $678-million plan for the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Trudeau personally greeted the first plane of Syrian refugees with hugs, tears and a show of compassion.

The PM received international acclaim for appointing a cabinet that was diverse ethnically and the first in the country’s history to 50:50 men and women.

The Canadian prime minister identifies as a feminist publicly at every opportunity.

Trudeau defends women’s right to abortion (Trump was forced last spring to retract a comment that women who obtain abortions be “punished“).

The Liberal government defied Trump’s executive order that reinstated and expanded the so-called “global gag rule,” which cuts off funding for international health services that include abortion in family-planning options; indeed, it increased funding to international abortion-related services. The Trudeau government rescinded a restriction put in place by the Harper government that was similar to Trump’s order.

Trudeau has been criticized for contradictions in his climate-change stance but he does believe planetary warming is real, unlike climate-change denying Trump.

Trudeau  refuses to abandon a proposed carbon tax; Trump has pledged to promote exploration and development of oil, gas and coal.

Trudeau’s Liberals celebrate their support of  the LGBTQ community; the prime minister is a fixture at annual Pride parades.

Trudeau shared a widely-hyped “bromance” with Trump’s predecessor and is famously a jogging buddy of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who is at odds with the new U.S. administration.

The Canadian prime minister  is not known to play golf, which makes him of little value in political cross-marketing Trump-branded golf courses.

Briefing that suggests the two are political soul mates:

In 2015, Trudeau voted for the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Practices Act, which met with harsh criticism from anti-violence groups. One slammed the legislation as “another example of institutional barriers to marginalized communities reporting violence and having access to support.”

Trudeau voted for Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, which expanded government surveillance and enacted other measures of grave concern to civil liberties groups (he has yet to fulfill a promise to amend the Act).

Like Trump, Trudeau campaigned on the promise of “Real Change,” a platform that included creating jobs and spending on infrastructure.

Trudeau recently approved two controversial pipelines, stoking national protest.

His government introduced Bill C-23, or “Preclearance Act 2016,” last year; the legislation will give border security more power, including allowing U.S. border guards to search and detain Canadians on Canadian soil.

Unlike German Chancellor Angela Merkel or British PM Theresa May, Trudeau has not publicly criticized or joked about the notoriously thin-skinned U.S. president.


 

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