TORONTO -- Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says Canada needs to assert itself on the world stage, and that includes forging a stronger relationship with Donald Trump’s America.

Mulroney acknowledged that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a tougher job dealing with the White House than he did as Canada’s leader in the 1980s and 1990s.

But Mulroney said he strongly believes that a Canadian prime minister must have a good relationship with the U.S. president, despite the challenges.

“I think Justin Trudeau can do miracles with Donald Trump, but he’s got to get himself down there and he’s got to start playing the game – and that’s Trump’s game, the way he plays it,” Mulroney told CTV News’ Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme during an event in Toronto Monday evening, where he was recognized with a global leadership award.

Mulroney, who called the current prime minister a “fine young man,” said he should use his “Justin Trudeau charm” to win over the people in Washington who back Trump – and that doesn’t mean “the sophisticates from The Washington Post,” he added.

Mulroney also said that Canada needs to work harder to fix its strained relationship with China, and go back to the “drawing board.”

“We have no idea – not a clue – what we’re doing out in China,” he said, noting that his comments are not a “disparagement of anyone.”

Mulroney said Canada needs to do more to raise its profile on the global stage, especially when it comes to the United Nations and its commitments to international causes.

“The world doesn’t want more Canada until it bellies up to the bar. And that’s what it should do for a leadership role,” he said.