Trudeau’s weak showing at the G7 Summit may hurt him in the election

Little was accomplished regarding trade and the environment, two of Trudeau’s key campaign platforms

Trudeau didn’t bring home much in the way of concrete plans to help Canadians. Photo: C. Barria / Reuters

By: Kelly Grounds, Peak Associate

The G7 recently met in France and the summit was particularly important for Trudeau. With a federal election coming up, everyone expected Trudeau to take a strong, decisive stance on both the economy and climate change — both of which are key pillars of his re-election campaign. That didn’t really happen.

Throughout the summit, Trudeau’s overall tone was reserved. The meeting with President Trump about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was so uneventful that it did not even merit reporting by the press. Talks about the USMCA were especially vital, given the fact that neither country has actually ratified the deal yet. Being able to push for an official ratification date within the US would have allowed Trudeau to confidently return home knowing that the US would not suddenly decide to renegotiate the deal — something that could potentially hurt Canadians.

It was also expected that Trudeau would side with Emmanuel Macron — President of France — and take a strong, unified stance against the fires in the Amazon. After all, Trudeau agreed with Macron in labelling the fires “an international emergency,” and called on the world to take action for future generations on Twitter. Climate change has been a key pillar of the Liberal re-election campaign, so leading a strong response from some of the world’s wealthiest countries would have been a major point for Trudeau. 

Instead, the G7 pledged just $20 million combined to fight the fires — a pledge that the US did not even contribute to. While Trudeau did promise that Canada would donate an additional $15 million, plus other resources, to fight the fires, many still saw the contributions as disappointing, considering that the Trudeau government actually purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline earlier this year for $4.5 billion. This directly counters the party’s commitment to initiatives that promote clean energy.

Both the economy and the environment are major talking points for Trudeau and are areas where he has promised tangible change. Seeing a relatively reserved attitude being taken with some of Canada’s allies should be of concern for voters in the upcoming elections. These are issues that require collaboration and discussion. If Trudeau does not feel comfortable pushing for meaningful change and results by discussing said issues with Canada’s closest friends, voters should wonder if he will be open to discussing them with the Canadian public.