Politics

Canada's ambassador to the U.S. has 'social conversation' with Trump

Canada's ambassador to the United States met president-elect Donald Trump last week at the annual Army-Navy match in Baltimore.

'I think our prosperity and the United States' prosperity is inextricably linked,' ambassador says

'He said to say 'hi' to the prime minister,' says David MacNaughton of run-in with the president-elect. 8:13

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

"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.

Trump acknowledges spectators during the first half of the Army-Navy NCAA college football game in Baltimore, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

"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.

Canada's ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, says he met president-elect Donald Trump at a football game in Baltimore earlier this month. "It was in a bit of a crowd. I think he was being friendly and genuine.' (The Canadian Press)

"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."


Get CBC politics news in your Facebook newsfeed - Like CBC Politics on Facebook

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.