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Should Trump be allowed to attend the G7 summit?

US President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Canada this coming June 8-9 for the G7 summit taking place at Le Manoir Richelieu in Le Malbaie, Quebec.


In response, The Council of Canadians launched this online petition to enable people to tell Trump he isn’t welcome here. This petition is important because it might be one of the few ways people can express their opposition to this visit given they will not be allowed to protest within sight of Trump but only in RCMP designated ‘free speech areas’ a distance away from the summit’s luxury hotel venue.


But an op-ed in the Toronto Star argues, “We may be regularly disgusted by Trump, but he is the duly-elected leader of our neighbour and our most important trade and security partner. He is a G7 leader. Vladimir Putin was booted from the then G8 after he invaded and annexed the Crimea so until Trump is convicted of a war crime, another felony or invades Mexico, he remains a key leader in the summit and eligible to enter this country.”


To directly respond to this, yes Trump is duly-elected (though he received 2.9 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton and is under investigation for collusion with the Russian government during the election), yes the US is our most important trading partner (even if Trump rips up NAFTA as he has repeatedly threatened to do), and no he hasn’t been convicted of a war crime (though he has said he would order the US military to kill the families of terrorists and institute interrogation methods worse than waterboarding even though retaliatory executions and torture are both war crimes under international law).


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s stated objectives for his G7 presidency and the summit include “advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment” (it defies credibility that Trump could contribute to this discussion); working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy (Trump has described climate change as a hoax, has submitted formal notice to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and has opened almost all US coastal waters for oil and gas drilling), and “building a more peaceful and secure world” (again farcical for Trump to participate in this given he has tweeted his nuclear-launch button is bigger than the North Korean leader’s button).


Overall, we have argued that key global discussions – that should be focused on building an inclusive economy that works for the 99 per cent, ensuring the right to water for all, moving to a 100 per cent clean energy economy by 2050 – should take place at the G193, the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City, not at extremely expensive, heavily fortified and deeply neo-liberal G7 summits.


And even if Trump isn’t charged with collusion and obstruction of justice before the summit takes place in June, there may be two other signficant legal reasons he should not be admissible into Canada.


Professor Hamid Dabashi has argued that Trump’s bombing of Iraq and Syria (which UN war crimes investigators said caused a “staggering loss of life”) “may or may not amount to war crimes – that is for legal scholars and a court of law to decide [but] they are certainly evidence of hate crimes, which if it were targeted towards one person it would be a matter of criminal investigation.”


And CNN has reported, “At least 15 women have come forward with a wide range of accusations against Trump, ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior around women.” Another CNN report highlights a “2005 Access Hollywood video that caught him saying of women that he felt entitled to ‘grab them by the pussy’.”


It is little wonder then that a Gallup poll taken this month showed that 76 per cent of Canadians said they disapproved of Trump’s job performance. An Angus Reid poll also released this month found that 70 per cent of Canadians had a negative impression of the Trump presidency.


To sign The Council of Canadians petition, please click here.