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Justin Trudeau in a difficult spot to criticize American immigration policy: political scientist

Last Updated Jun 19, 2018 at 11:17 pm PDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump during the G7 Leaders Summit in La Malbaie, Que., on Friday, June 8, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

'It's a bit like asking the prime minister to wake a sleeping elephant when we are the mouse.': political scientist

The Trudeau Government has stayed relatively quiet about the Trump policy

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – President Donald Trump sees his immigration policy as a winner with voters ahead of midterm elections this fall in spite of controversy over the government separating children and parents at the southern border.
Trump defended his hard-line views by saying, “You have to stand for something.”

White House officials and outside advisers tell The Associated Press that the president remains confident that projecting toughness on immigration is the right call. The officials and advisers spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter by name.

While the White House signaled Trump may be open to a narrow fix to deal with the problem of separations at the border, the president spent the day stressing immigration policies that he has championed throughout his surprise political career.

Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau is stuck between a rock and a hard place in this situation according to a political scientist.

If you were looking at Justin Trudeau’s actions and messages on the global stage, it would make sense for him to pressure the US Government to make changes to this policy.

Patrick Smith at SFU says even though Trudeau will get some push-back, he’ll likely stay away from this fight.

“It’s a bit like asking the prime minister to wake a sleeping elephant when we are the mouse.”

He says there are serious implications from getting in this kind of fight with the United States.

“Those political costs in the middle of NAFTA, new tariffs, possibly on the auto sector and those kinds of things, may weigh more heavily on his mind than trying to score points.”

Smith says the Liberals are in tough, no matter what they do.

“Just say that Canada remains refugee-friendly. That has its limits as well, of course in Canada we have our own push-back on immigration questions.”

He says the opposition parties will be outspoken on this issue.