HASH(0x292d008)

Ex-general and Liberal U.S. point man urges ‘calm’ in dealing with Trump

Liberals urge 'calm' in dealing with Trump

OTTAWA — One of the Trudeau government’s top guns on dealing with Donald Trump â€” retired general Andrew Leslie â€” evoked the calm, stiff-upper-lip British approach in dealing with the unpredictable new U.S. president..

“All of us have to stay calm and carry on. We will make sure that we take care of our interests â€” security, trade, a whole host of others â€” while defending our values,” said Leslie, who was appointed earlier this month as parliamentary secretary to the foreign affairs minister.

He said former U.S. president Barack Obama issued more executive orders in his first days in power than Trump â€” a piece of U.S. presidential trivia drawn from his briefing book in an apparent attempt to offer reassurance.

“Now that I am getting much better briefed on the issue, president Obama actually issued more executive orders and memorandums in his first week than President Trump,” he said on Tuesday, offering no other details.

Leslie commanded the Canadian army during the bloodiest combat phase of the war in Afghanistan and that war experience helped spur Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to raise him to his current position to boost ties with the new U.S. administration, which includes a number of former military commanders.

They include two retired marine generals in key jobs, James Mattis at defence and John Kelly in homeland security. Trump’s national security adviser is retired army general Michael Flynn.

Leslie said those ties helped Canada get quick answers on Saturday from Washington after Trump’s executive order barring citizens of seven countries, including Syria, from entering the United States caused widespread uncertainty.

“The government has been working very carefully, very quietly, with a variety of advisers in the White House … I think that proved its value over the weekend,” Leslie said.

He stressed that working constructively with the new administration is “the wisest approach” in defending Canada’s interests â€” not publicly disagreeing with Trump.

That approach was essentially endorsed by business leaders who met Leslie last week. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said the meeting included business leaders from 20 associations representing hundreds of thousands of businesses.

“There’s a lot of alignment in the business sectors about continuing to nurture that relationship with the U.S. and for those in the U.S. who might not realize how important it is, to re-educate and remind them,” Derek Nighbor, the head of the Forest Products Association of Canada, said in an interview.

But many in the business community are also worried about what lies ahead.

“Everybody is taken aback by the degree to which the president has continued his style from the campaign,” John Manley, president of the Business Council of Canada, said in an interview.

Business people are accustomed to dealing with risk, but uncertainty is something that “they really don’t like.”

“Right now we’ve got a lot of uncertainties. It’s a worrying time,” he added.

Newly appointed International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said closed borders are “not the Canadian way” and that the assurances Canada received that dual nationals would not be barred from the U.S. are key to maintaining strong trade links.

“We have about 400,000 people crossing the border every day,” he said. “So obviously, free flow of people between our countries is essential. I’m grateful we could clarify that very quickly.”

With Trump wanting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement â€” or possibly scrap it â€” Trudeau’s office said Tuesday the prime minister had a phone conversation on Monday with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in which they discussed trade, job creation and competitiveness across the continent.

The call came after Pena Nieto abruptly cancelled a planned visit to Washington this week following Trump’s insistence that Mexico will pay for his proposed border wall.

The statement from Trudeau’s office called North America “one of the most successful economic regions in the world.”

It said Trudeau and Pena Nieto look forward to continuing their “regular discussions” on those matters.

Pena Nieto also expressed his condolences over the weekend attack on a mosque in Quebec City that killed six men and injured 19, saying Mexico stood in solidarity with Canadians, Trudeau’s office said.

Mike Blanchfield and Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Hang glider pilot rescued from Pincushion Mountain

Pilot was able to help guide rescue crews to her location

Car accident on Leckie Road backs up traffic

An accident involving a bus is blocking traffic driving near Dilworth Mountain

Top Okanagan wedding venue no longer allows wedding ceremonies

Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park and Kaloya Regional Park will no longer allow the ceremonies

Okanagan College has new entrepaneur-in-residence

Jason Richards, has been involved in a number of start-ups over his career

Kelowna Pride Society looks for community feedback

The society is already planning this year’s festivities

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Most Read