Time for body slams
We Canadians are just too polite. There are times when we need to swap our signature friendly, sometimes phoney, body language with genuine Canadian hockey body slams.
We acted far too nice last week when we greeted Donald Trump upon his regal arrival for the G7 summit at La Malbaie, Que.
Justin Trudeau, with a smile as wide as the St. Lawrence, not only shook the hand of the Blusterer in Chief enthusiastically, he squeezed the chief’s forearm in a special display of warmth. So did Sophie Grégoire, Trudeau’s wife.
An outstretched handshake from a distance reserved for someone who plans to hurt you would have sufficed. And he is hurting Canadians, imposing tariffs on our important exports, and threatening to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trudeau could have engaged in some psychological one-upmanship. For instance, when Trump descended the steps of Air Force One, Justin could have taken his outstretched hand much the same way you take raccoon poop off the cottage deck.
“Good flight, Ronnie?” (Bullies hate when you confuse them with someone else.)
No “Welcome to Canada” because for most Canadians, he isn’t.
Then with a disdainful glance up at Air Force One Trudeau could have added: “Geez, the old ship looks a bit grungy. Whenever Obama visited it was always bright and sparkling clean. You must have flown over West Virginia. All that coal dust. We need to talk about that at the summit.”
Bullies have an over-inflated sense of their importance and constantly seek the spotlight, so at La Malbaie it should have been kept off him. A couple of sharp Gordie Howe-style elbows would have kept him out of the centre of the official G7 photograph.
Trudeau has the perfect outfit for toning down Trump. Remember last Halloween when he trotted down the stairs of Parliament Hill’s centre block on his way to the daily question period?
He had the Clark Kent look with slick black hair, geeky black-rim glasses and blue suit with the red tie. As puzzled reporters looked on he ripped open his dress shirt to reveal his Superman costume.
Repeating that performance at the G7 opening would have shown who is the boss.
The U.S. president often invites other leaders to his Mar-a-Lago resort to show off his wealth, power and brilliance.
Invited or not, Trudeau should have raised Mar-a-Lago during the meeting by telling Trump: “Sorry I can’t get down to Mar-a-Lago this summer, or even the fall. Too much going on. Vlad Putin has invited me to go mushroom picking and Kim keeps asking me to go over for a banchan lunch. When you see him next week tell him I’ll give him a call and we’ll set a date.”
There are other ways everyone involved with the G7 could have stuck pins in Trump’s ego. Staff at the Manoir Richelieu, where the G7 leaders were staying, could have been instructed on how to serve the U.S. president with mind games.
For instance, when he called down for his late night cheeseburger and Coke, the chef could have said: “Je suis désolé, Monsieur Le President. Angela Merkel just got the last one.”
Unfortunately, there was not enough time to play really serious mind games with the president. He came late and left early, not wanting to spend time with powerful and intelligent leaders who are no longer in the mood to shower him with the flattery he craves.
Once again, Canada was far too polite to him. What we got in return was that he came reluctantly and quickly escaped from what he no doubt considers another outhouse country.
There’s an old saying that a bully is always a coward. Trump fit that proverb perfectly when he left the G7.
Once in the air on Air Force One he took to Twitter and called Justin Trudeau a liar. Trudeau was “very dishonest and weak” and acted “so meek and mild.” He did the name calling on Twitter because he was too cowardly to do it face to face.
Later, Peter Navarro, Trump’s top trade adviser said there is a “special place in Hell” for people like Trudeau.
It’s time we started taking these people into the boards.