It happened again on the day U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un were to meet in Singapore to discuss the crisis facing the world.
It also happened on the day when Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer called on the government to condemn the brutal Iranian regime. And more importantly, it happened on the day after Peter Navarro, a trade advisor to Trump, called Trudeau “weak and dishonest.”
Then Navarro dropped this bomb on a Fox News broadcast: “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.”
Navarro was referring to the Prime Minister’s statement after the Group of Seven meeting Saturday that Canada will “not be pushed around” by the U.S. with its decision to slap tariffs on some steel and aluminum imports from Canada. The tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum took effect June 1.
Canada hit back with tariffs of its own – $16.6 billion worth of retaliation on a long list of U.S. products that included everything from flat-rolled steel to playing cards and felt-tipped pens.
Trudeau is in the middle of a trade war.
He’s also in danger of severely damaging the relationship between Canada and its closest ally, the United States.
So is Trudeau feeling the heat?
Well, it was only a couple of months ago when Trudeau took a personal day on the heels of an emergency meeting to deal with the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Project.
And remember the day after the disastrous trip to India where he was jaunting around in funny-looking costumes and trying to fend off criticism for the invitation his office sent to a convicted terrorist to attend a dinner there?
He took a personal day after that trip, too.
And then flip back to May 25, 2016, when Trudeau took a day off during a business trip to Japan to celebrate his wedding anniversary, even though the anniversary was really May 28, when he was scheduled to attend a Liberal convention.
That day off sparked Maclean’s magazine to ask a psychotherapist and mental health advisor (Tim Iles, associate professor of Asian and Japanese studies at the University of Victoria) whether personal days were a good idea for a sitting prime minister.
“It’s putting someone’s private life ahead of public duty. This wouldn’t even happen in a private company,” Iles, said.
“Taking a day off, it’s generally not done unless you have an extremely good reason—illness in the family, death in the family,” Iles continued.
“I’ve never heard of a Japanese head of state taking a day off for that really personal reason. They have vacation days; it’s necessary, but [the anniversary] is something that’s really a personal thing.
To say, “the business of running the country is fine, I’m going to take one day off” … they’re supposed to be on the job basically all the time with the proviso that there’s time off, carefully arranged.
To tell the nation that a private issue is more important than the business of the nation … I don’t think there’d be a public expression of critique. But I think behind closed doors, there’d be some eyes rolling.”
Well, the eyes have really stopped rolling in Canada. We’ve come to expect that when Prime Minister Trudeau starts feeling the heat, he gets out of the kitchen and heads for a personal day.
The Progressive Conservative opposition is calling on the government to condemn the Iranian regime.
“We’re calling on Justin Trudeau and his Liberals to support our Conservative efforts in condemning Iran’s brutal regime, and their Supreme Leader’s recent despicable comments calling for the genocide of the Jewish people,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said in a tweet Monday.
But Trudeau couldn’t answer the tweet. He was on a personal day.