Trudeau rejects White House invitation amid pandemic

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined an invitation from the White House to celebrate the new regional free trade agreement in Washington with U

TORONTO – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected an invitation from the White House to celebrate the new regional free trade agreement in Washington with US President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Trump and López Obrador will meet in Washington on Wednesday, but Trudeau spokesman Chantal Gagnon said Monday that while Canada wants the United States and Mexico, Trudeau will not be there.

“While there were recent discussions about Canada’s possible involvement, the prime minister will be in Ottawa this week for scheduled cabinet meetings and the long-planned Parliament session,” said Gagnon.

Trudeau is conducting online cabinet meetings rather than in-person meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A senior United States administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be quoted by name, said that Trudeau had multiple conflicts related to the initiation of Parliament and coronavirus regulations requiring Canadians who travel abroad remain in quarantine for 14 days upon their return. The official said Trudeau has asked to speak to Trump on the phone.

Trudeau then spoke to López Obrador by phone and wished him a successful meeting with Trump, the prime minister’s office said.

Gagnon said the new treaty that went into effect on July 1 “is good for Canada, the United States and Mexico.” It will help ensure that North America emerges stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic. “

Nelson Wiseman, professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said Trudeau has less to lose by avoiding Trump now that the new treaty is in effect.

“Trudeau’s losses in Canadian public opinion will be warned by the very unpopular Trump,” said Wiseman. “Trudeau can afford to wait for the Trump presidency now in less than four months for the US election. Trudeau will remain the power after the election, Trump is much less likely to do so. “


Associated Press journalist Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.