OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked during a CNN interview whether he trusts U.S. President Donald Trump to uphold the new trade deal -- and he replied that he trusts Canadians.

The exchange came during an interview with CNN anchor Poppy Harlow that aired Tuesday. She quoted the prime minister as saying one of the greatest lessons he learned from his father, former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was to “trust people.”

Harlow then asked if Trudeau trusted Trump to “uphold his promises and not back out of deals.”

“What my father taught me was to trust Canadians,” Trudeau responded.

"It was a way of looking at the electorate as saying you don't have to dumb it down for them, you don't have to scare them into this or that, you can actually treat people like intelligent, rational actors and they will rise to the occasion," adding that it’s been his approach throughout his political career.

“So… President Trump is not Canadian,” Harlow said, pressing Trudeau on the question.

“I recognize that every leader has a job of sticking up for their own country, and they all do it in their own way,” Trudeau replied.

Steel and aluminum tariffs

In the interview, Trudeau also said signing the trilateral USMCA trade pact is not contingent on the ongoing steel and aluminum tariffs being lifted.

He said that, while backroom conversations are still underway to see the tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum lifted, Canada doesn’t see it as a must-have condition.

"We're not at the point of saying that we wouldn't sign if it wasn't, if it wasn't lifted, although we're trying to make that case," Trudeau said.

In the spring, amid NAFTA renegotiations, the U.S. announced the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, citing national security as a justification, and shortly after Canada announced its own dollar-for-dollar retaliatory tariffs on American-made steel, aluminum, and other goods.

Trudeau called the tariffs a "continued frustration" that are hurting consumers and businesses on both sides of the border.

"We're going to continue to make our arguments based on facts not based on emotions or insults," Trudeau said. He also denied that the tariffs had an impact on the outcome of the trade talks between Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Both opposition parties in Canada continue to press the Liberals to get these tariffs lifted as soon as possible, as the federal government continues to tout the interim support it's offering the impacted industries.

Weighs in on midterms, migrants

Trudeau also weighed in on the midterm elections happening south of the border, saying he'll work with whatever Congress is elected.

"Americans will make the choice that they need to make that they choose to make… My job is to stand up for Canada and to defend Canadian interests and to have a constructive working relationship with whoever is elected in the United States," Trudeau said.

Asked to comment on the politics surrounding the caravan of migrants making their way from Central America to the United States, Trudeau deferred saying he think it's "important that people outside our borders not weigh in on our own decisions," and so he wouldn’t do so in this instance.

Thinks he's allayed fears

Trudeau also said that, when it comes to countries moving to the right of the political spectrum, there are people who come forward with "really easy sounding answers," to respond to people’s anxieties about their futures, though in many cases he doesn’t think those answers are the right ones.

"What we've done here in Canada is set forward some more complex but very effective answers that do bring people together… We have worked on not augmenting those fears, but allaying those fears and it’s working in Canada," Trudeau said.





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