WASHINGTON—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gets a lot of creative suggestions about how to deal with the president of the United States.
Murder was new.
At Trudeau’s Wednesday town hall in Kamloops, B.C., the prime minister took a question from a man he described as “the enthusiastic bearded fellow in grey.”
After thanking Trudeau for coming to town and telling the prime minister “you’re welcome for the clear sidewalks, by the way,” the man, who did not identify himself by name, began, “I just want a really, really quick, really funny question . . . pertaining about Donald Trump.”
He paused for dramatic effect.
There was laughter and some scattered applause from the crowd.
“Like, really. I’ll buy ya a beer,” the man continued. He concluded: “But anyways, thank you for giving me the mic. I just wanted to get that off . . . you mentioned him . . .”
Trudeau, smiling a restrained smile, responded by gently advising Canadians not to joke about such things.
“I wasn’t expecting a threat of violence against our closest ally, but uh, I, I — you know, in politics people have all sorts of opinions,” Trudeau said. “And all sorts of perspectives about who is leading at any given moment. The relationship between Canada and the United States goes far deeper than who happens to be prime minister and who happens to be president.”
After touting Canadian unity during the NAFTA negotiations, he said, “And keeping things on a pragmatic, regular, thoughtful level, and not, you know, stooping to insults or, or, uh, or, or, you know, jokes, I think is an important thing that Canadians should keep in mind when dealing with the world. But I appreciate your comment.”
The crowd clapped for that.
Trudeau had been asked another Trump question just prior, about the president vaguely criticizing Canadian lumber practices in August as he also criticized how California protects its forests against fires. (Trudeau’s questioner said Trump had blamed Canada for the California fires, which was not the case.)
Trudeau said Canadians expect him to maintain a “constructive relationship” with the U.S. president. “I try not to weigh in on various things that he says as a matter of course,” he said.
Canadian opinion of the U.S. has fallen to a record low during the Trump presidency.