Canada's ambassador to the U.S. has 'social conversation' with Trump
'I think our prosperity and the United States' prosperity is inextricably linked,' ambassador says
You never know who you might run into at a football game.
For Canada's ambassador to the United States, that run-in was with president-elect Donald Trump at the annual Army-Navy game in Baltimore. The Army won the Dec.10 game with a score of 21 to 17.
But at an event focused on sport, there was no talk of politics.
"It was purely a social conversation," David MacNaughton said in an interview with Rosemary Barton Tuesday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics.
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"I congratulated him, he said to say 'Hi' to the prime minister, [that he] looks forward to working with me, but there wasn't anything substantive," he added.
"It was in a bit of a crowd. I think he was being friendly and genuine."
MacNaughton, who was named to his post nearly a year ago, said despite "differences in opinion on policy" he's confident Canada can find common ground with the incoming president.
"We're allies, we're partners and we're friends. No matter who's in the White House, we will find a way to get along," he said.
Members of Trump's team have also shared that sentiment with the ambassador.
"All the people that are around him have reached out, and been very open and congenial and looking forward to working with Canada," MacNaughton said.
Softwood lumber dispute
The ambassador also weighed in on key economic files between Canada and the United States, including the ongoing softwood lumber dispute — a conflict he said is "not at all" on the back burner until after Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration.
"We've been engaged in discussions with the U.S. Commerce Department, we've put forth our case...we continue to work towards finding a solution to this irritant," MacNaughton said.
"Whether or not we'll be able to do it before Jan. 20, I'm not overly optimistic. It's something we work on every single day. Not a day goes by that I don't wake up thinking about two-by-fours."
When it comes to Trump's anti-NAFTA rhetoric, MacNaughton was more optimistic.
"I think our prosperity and the United States' prosperity is inextricably linked. They're not going to do things that are bad for them. The Americans will realize that, sure, NAFTA can be improved, but as far as Canada and the United States are concerned, our economies are better off because of the integration."
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