Before Donald Trump’s foray into presidential politics, the most Canadians might hear or see of him north of the border was at a ribbon-cutting for one of his namesake hotels, or on reality television. Since he hit the campaign trail, however, Canada has been on his lips a lot, but mostly in his scathing attacks against former candidate Ted Cruz’s Canuck birthplace roots.

  • For how a Trump presidency would impact Canada, click here
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Now, the presumptive Republican candidate could occupy America’s highest political office, and if that happens, his relevance to Canadian politics will skyrocket.

Here’s a roundup of what Trump has said on the presidential trail about some of the issues that could impact America’s neighbours to the north:


During a rally in Rochester, N.Y., in April, Trump said he would change what he referred to as poorly-negotiated trade deals, mentioning Canada when he spoke about U.S. trade deficits.

“I like free trade, but free trade is not free trade, it’s dump trade because we lose with China, we lose with Mexico, we lose with Japan and Vietnam and every single country that we deal with.”

Trump continued: “We lose with Canada --- big-league. Tremendous, tremendous trade deficits with Canada.”

It’s not entirely clear what a Trump presidency could have on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade deal that has become a hot topic in U.S. presidential primaries. However, Trump has said that TPP is a “bad deal” that will send jobs overseas.

Canada signed the TPP trade agreement earlier this year, but Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government will continue to review the treaty before it is ratified. Freeland has acknowledged that whatever Canada decides in regards to the TPP will be moot if the next U.S. president decides to cancel the deal.

Trump has also previously said he would “renegotiate” or “break” the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Keystone XL supporter

Trump has said that he supported TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline project that the Obama administration rejected late last year. In his book, “Crippled America,” Trump called Obama’s opposition to the 2,000-kilometre pipeline an “outrage.” The project, if approved, would have carried crude oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf coast, is one of the few projects where Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may be on the same page. During the 2015 campaign, Trudeau’s Liberals said they were in favour of Keystone XL pipeline, and when it was rejected, he expressed “disappointment.” However, Trudeau also said that the “Canada-U.S. relationship is bigger than any one project.”

No wall for Canada

While Trump has enthusiastically pledged to build a permanent wall separating the U.S. from Mexico to prevent illegal crossings, he’s dismissed the idea of erecting a similar security wall along the U.S.-Canada border as too large and expensive.

“With Canada, you’re talking about a massively long piece. You’re talking about a border that would be about four times longer,” Trump said. “It would be very, very hard to do – and it is not our biggest problem. I don’t care what anyone says. It is not our big problem.”

Trump and Trudeau

While many U.S. presidents and Canadian prime ministers in the past have enjoyed warm relations, it appears there wouldn’t be as close a friendship between Trudeau and Trump, if only based on their political goals.

Trudeau, who was recently feted at a state dinner hosted by outgoing President Obama, has not lent any public support or endorsed any U.S. candidate currently in the presidential race.

However, Trudeau has responded to frequent questions at public events about the presidential race and about the billionaire businessman himself. While careful not to speak directly about Trump, Trudeau has instead spoken about the political climate of fear and frustration in the U.S.

Trudeau has also diplomatically noted that the relationship between the U.S. and Canada “goes far beyond any two personalities or individuals.”

Trump has already shot down one of Trudeau’s hallmarks of office, however: a gender-equal cabinet requirement. During an interview with MSNBC last November, shortly after Trudeau announced his cabinet appointments included 15 female Members of Parliament, Trump was asked if he would make the same election promise. Trump said his appointments would be based on merit.

“I want the best person at each position … I’m going to get the best people for the job.”

Trump dodgers to Canada

Canada has also been on the lips of Americans who are threatening to migrate north if Trump is elected president. For his part, Trump has said he’ll be happy to see some of them go.

“I’ll be doing a great service to our country. I have to (win). Now, it’s much more important,” Trump said in an interview after he was asked about actress Lena Dunham after the “Girls” star said she would seriously consider moving to Canada’s west coast if he takes office.

Trudeau has simply laughed off the notion, saying that it’s common during every U.S. campaign for Americans to threaten to leave the U.S. if their preferred candidate doesn’t get elected.

With files from The Canadian Press