As American voters head to the polls on Super Tuesday, the Republicans among them could move a few steps closer to nominating Donald Trump as their party’s candidate for president. Were the Donald to win that nomination and ultimately prevail in the November general election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would presumably pick up the phone and congratulate the billionaire politician on his new job at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Today, Trudeau joined News1130 for a wide-ranging interview that touched on the sluggish economy, pipeline politics, Syrian refugees, the legalization of marijuana, interprovincial relations, why no Canadian team will make the NHL playoffs—and, in the wake of the Washington Post‘s dubbing of Trudeau as the “anti-Trump,” the PM also answered questions about prospective cross-border relations with the businessman-turned-politician. (Listen to the full interview.)
Listen to Justin Trudeau on a possible Donald Trump presidency
“I look forward to working with whoever gets elected president,” Trudeau said. “There have been times where the president and the prime minister have been perhaps misaligned on ideological or political spectrum levels where we’ve been able to to work very, very well together. We have to remember that ideology can’t drive our relationship. It has to be pragmatic, focused on the things where we do agree—and making sure that we’re creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians.”
The PM concluded that so tightly connected are the two economies, the next president would simply have to find ways to cooperate. Trudeau’s answer neatly avoided any direct reference to Trump’s divisive, inconsistent personality that’s rocked American politics. He went much further in the Maclean’s Town Hall last December, when he distanced himself from Trump’s style after City News reporter Cynthia Mulligan asked a question from Twitter and followed up in her own words.
Q: You’re basking in your post-election win, and one year from now, America will have a new President. Polls suggest that Donald Trump is surging in popularity. What do you think of his politics? What would you say if you could sit down and talk to him?
A: First of all, I think it’s extremely important that someone in my position doesn’t engage in the electoral processes of another country. So I’m, I’m certainly going to be very cautious about engaging in this particular topic, just because I think it’s going to be important for Canadians, for Canadian jobs, for Canadian prosperity to be able to have a positive relationship with whoever Americans choose as their President.
However, (laughter) I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that I stand firmly against the politics of division, the politics of fear, the politics of intolerance or hateful rhetoric. I stood clearly against that in the Charte des valeurs divisive issues put forward by the former Premier of Quebec. I took a very strong stand against the previous government’s playing dangerous games with veils and citizenship issues. I think Canada and indeed any modern society does best when we understand that diversity is a source of strength, not a source of weakness, that the elements on which we are similar are always far greater than the elements on which we are diverse.
And if we allow politicians to succeed by scaring people, we don’t actually end up any safer. Fear doesn’t make us safer, it makes us weaker. And at this time, when there is reason to be concerned for security around the world and here at home, we need to remain focused on keeping our communities safe and keeping our communities united instead of trying to build walls and scapegoat communities that, I mean, to talk directly about the Muslim community, they are predominantly, they are the greatest victims of terrorist acts around the world at the present time.
And painting ISIS and others with a broad brush that extends to all Muslims is not just ignorant, it’s irresponsible.