The “hot mic” video of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mocking President Donald Trump behind his back at the NATO conference is a major diplomatic blunder.
I’m no fan of Trump’s either, and Trudeau certainly found a ready audience for his ridicule, but this is school boy stuff, unbecoming the leaders of any of these countries. And there is no excuse. Trudeau should know by now that everything is on the record whether there’s a “hot mic” or not.
More importantly, he should know, as Canada’s Prime Minister, that his principal foreign affairs job is to look after Canada’s relationship with the United States. In fact, like it or lump it, good relations with the U.S. is one of Canada’s two most important assets. The other is the country’s spectacular resource endowment.
And Trudeau has degraded the value of both these assets to the detriment of all Canadians. This will all prove to be very expensive as the country heads into a recession due to a worldwide slowdown combined with the damage inflicted on the country’s oil industry.
Trump will now push even harder that Canada meet its NATO pledge to spend two per cent of GDP on national defence. Currently, spending is 1.3 per cent. Trump sent a letter before the conference about this and challenged Trudeau in a press conference there. But now after the incident, Canada will have to pay up, one way or another. Expect tariffs.