Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Won’t Cross the Border for Washington Summit

July 6, 2020

New York Times, July 6, 2020, excerpt.

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“Will Trump be wearing a mask in the meeting?” asked Roland Paris, a professor of international affairs at the University of Ottawa, and a former foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trudeau. Would Mr. Trump stand closer than two meters away?

“I don’t think Trudeau has any interest in being drawn into American debates on mask-wearing and appropriate health precautions during an epidemic,” Mr. Paris said.

While President Trump has continually underplayed the severity of the virus, and even mocked people for wearing masks, Mr. Trudeau became the first G7 leader to self-isolate after his wife came down with flulike symptoms and later tested positive for Covid-19 in March.

For two weeks, Mr. Trudeau juggled the country’s response to the pandemic from his home study, caring for the couple’s three young children without the help of his usual political aides or personal staff. He didn’t get a test himself because, at that time, doctors were advising only those with symptoms to get tested, and he had none.

It would also look hypocritical for the prime minister to dash into the United States for a quick trip when his government officially shut the border in March to anything but essential travel, experts said.

“It’s not clear that a photo op counts as essential,” said Mr. Paris.

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Roland Paris
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

University of Ottawa

120 University Private, Room 6053

Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 3M5, Canada

rparis@uottawa.ca

+1 (613) 562-5800 x4047
@rolandparis

© Roland Paris 2020