Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff looks on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Labour 7 Consultation in Ottawa. (The Canadian Press file photo)

Trudeau ends 3-country tour with global reputation, alliances intact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds footing on the world stage after China and India controversies

Justin Trudeau is heading home from a lengthy, three-country foreign tour in which the prime minister appeared to recapture his international mojo and reassert several key alliances, but didn’t sign off on any big deals or declarations.

When the 10-day trip to Peru, France and the U.K., with a quick stop in Ottawa, started last week, one of the top questions was whether Trudeau could rediscover his footing on the world stage after recent controversies in China and India.

This time, there were no eye-catching outfits as Trudeau stuck to tried-and-true business suits and, on occasion, his patented button-up shirt and rolled-up sleeves as he met with world leaders, industry representatives and students.

There were no noticeable gaffes or tensions as the prime minister pushed his progressive trade agenda, women’s rights and ocean protection while issuing warnings against rising authoritarianism and inequality around the world.

Mixed with those higher ideals were closed-door discussions — first in Peru with Mexico and the United States about the North American Free Trade Agreement; and then in the U.K. about Russia, Syria and cybersecurity.

The prime minister didn’t make it easy on himself, either, as he flew briefly back to Ottawa from Peru to meet with the premiers of Alberta and B.C. on the Trans Mountain pipeline, and then onto France, rather than directly to Paris as originally planned.

Yet that stop back home may have represented the most concrete outcome as Trudeau announced plans to draft legislation affirming federal jurisdiction over the pipeline and negotiations with Kinder Morgan for financial support for the project.

In Peru, just hours after meeting Trudeau, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence did predict a new NAFTA within several weeks. In Paris, Canada and France agreed to co-operate and push other countries to honour their commitments under the Paris climate agreement.

READ MORE: Trans Mountain ‘will be built,’ Trudeau says after meeting with Horgan, Notley

READ MORE: Trudeau to talk NAFTA with Mexican president, U.S. vice-president while in Peru

In London, the prime minister also joined his counterparts from Britain, Australia and New Zealand to reaffirm their tight-knit global security alliance.

And Trudeau reportedly used every opportunity to promote Canada’s G7 priorities and bid for a UN Security Council seat. That included in meetings on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Peru and a Commonwealth leaders’ summit in London with leaders from Chile, Peru, Argentina, New Zealand, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa and the Caribbean.

However, there were no significant business deals, despite a high-profile address to industry leaders in Peru and several meetings in Paris and London. There were minor foreign-aid announcements.

Trudeau did have some bold moments, such as when he used his speech to the French National Assembly to make the case for the Canada-EU free trade deal — to the anger of some French MPs and approval of others.

He was also unapologetically tough on the Venezuelan government, which he described as a murderous, authoritarian regime. And he was critical of the Commonwealth — or at least some of its members — for not championing LGBTQ rights.

But the prime minister was ambiguous in a variety of other areas, including his plans to fight plastic waste in oceans and whether Russian hackers were a threat to average Canadians.

And despite touting democratic ideals, there was no mention of human rights as he met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who has been accused of growing authoritarianism. He also veered away from any significant criticism of Cuba.

Supporters will likely say that the trip was a success as the prime minister met key allies and advanced Canada’s interests on a number of fronts, including trade, security, gender rights and the environment.

Critics will point to the lack of any significant new agreements or business deals and his ambiguity on several files as proof that the trip, which came at a critical time in the pipeline debate back home, was a waste.

During his final news conference in London on Thursday, Trudeau was asked for his own assessment.

“Here in London and in France and in Lima, we were very much engaged in promoting Canada’s interests and creating opportunities for greater trade, greater relationships that are going to benefit Canadians and benefit the world,” he said.

“We know that government and governance and serving Canadians is a process that stretches out over time and we focus every day on defending and advancing the interests of Canadians — whether there’s a headline in it for you guys or not.”

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Recruiting physicians to practice in Chilliwack is an uphill battle

Shortage of doctors is critical right across Canada, and not just Chilliwack

Chilliwack prolific offender a no-show for sentencing hearing

Warrant issued on May 17 for Jeffrey Michael Kizmann wanted for robbery

More than 100 military troops stationed in Chilliwack on flood watch

As water recedes in the Interior, military departs with a contingent to stay behind in Fraser region

De Jaeger throws his hat in the ring for Chilliwack city council

Longtime owner of Bravo Restaurant also ran in the 2015 federal election for Chilliwack-Hope

Column: Chilliwack’s RBC Cup win a dream come true

Jacob Bestebroer spent hours wondering what a championship might feel like, and finally found out.

Vancouver Island girl scores with winning song for BC Summer Games

‘Colours’ is a perfect theme for 2018 BC Summer Games

Drivers could pay $8 per day to help cut gridlock under new plan

Mobility pricing report outlines two existing models to cut Metro Vancouver congestion by 20-25%

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

B.C. mom who died just before daughter’s wedding wanted family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while on a surf board in Tofino last weekend

Courtenay-Alberni MP calls for lifeguards at popular surf spot near Tofino

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is defending its decision to cancel the surf guard program.

Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sex misconduct probe: officials

Would be first criminal charge against Weinstein since scores of women came forward

Fuel truck crash closes B.C. highway, sends two to hospital

The Trans-Canada Highway on Vancouver Island is expected to be closed until Thursday evening

Most Read