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Why Canada won’t say a word about Trump’s return to politics

Why Canada won't say a word about Trump's return to politics

The Canadian government has an unequivocal position on what it intends to say regarding the just-announced political comeback of Donald Trump: nothing.

Two years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blamed the then-U.S. president for inciting a riot in an effort to cling to power, the Canadian government intends to keep mum.

Conversations with Canadian officials in recent days made clear they have no intention of voicing any revulsion they might be feeling in light of the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

But already, the mere idea of Trump returning to power is being discussed discreetly among participants within international institutions.

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Two of those institutions happened to be meeting last week when Trump announced another presidential run: NATO and the COP27 climate conference.

Trump’s announcement coincided with an emergency gathering of NATO leaders after a missile landed in Poland, and with UN climate talks unfolding in Egypt.

The potential implications for both of those institutions is obvious. Trump tried withdrawing from the UN climate pact. And he threatened to leave NATO or severely undermine it, while different former aides said they feared that, in a second term, he might really withdraw.

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Canada’s representative to NATO during the Trump years declined to describe what talks were like at the time because, she said, the confidentiality of conversations is a sacrosanct principle among military allies.

But when asked to assess the potential effect of a Trump comeback, Kerry Buck was blunt.

“It can do a lot of damage,” Buck, now retired from government, told CBC News. “In Ukraine, specifically, and everywhere else.”

Watching nervously in Europe

Buck said certain planks of NATO’s just-adopted strategic document would be called into question if Trump returned to office, like the value of alliances in dealing with China and climate change being viewed as a security threat.

To be clear, there is no NATO worth speaking of without the United States; the Americans account for almost 70 per cent of the alliance’s total defence spending.

But NATO insiders’ immediate concern isn’t Trump pulling out; it’s that he…

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