Power & Politics

Dutch PM says he and Trudeau are the 'right sort' of populists

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he and Justin Trudeau are both the “right sort” of populist politicians, and that others should embrace populism instead of fighting it.

Mark Rutte says politicians should embrace populism, not fight it

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold a joint press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he and Justin Trudeau are both the "right sort" of populist politicians, and that others should embrace populism instead of fighting it.

"The wrong sort of populism is making people afraid," said Rutte in an interview with CBC News Network's Power & Politics. "The right sort of populism, I think, is the sort of populism that says we have to be in a constant dialogue with the people.

"When I see [Trudeau] on television, he's always at a town hall somewhere, always on Twitter, on social media, trying to engage with the people. That's exactly what we need to do."

Rutte is on a one-day visit to Ottawa and became today the first Dutch prime minister to address Canada's Parliament.

He spoke with Power & Politics host Vassy Kapelos ahead of that speech and discussed climate change, free trade and the bond between Canada and the Netherlands.

Dutch PM discusses how politicians should embrace populism 2:07

On climate change

Rutte said the world is "absolutely not" on track to meet the targets set out in the Paris climate agreement. The Netherlands is pushing the European Union to increase its emissions reductions targets to try to keep global temperatures from rising beyond 2 degrees, said Rutte.

The Dutch prime minister acknowledged that climate policies like the carbon tax can be controversial, but said people are aware the climate is changing and that steps must be taken to mitigate that change.

"You have to constantly discuss this with society. Have that debate, but then I sense that generally people understand that it is crucial that we take steps."

Dutch PM says world is not on track to keep global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees 2:26

On Canada-EU trade

In his speech to Canada's Parliament, Rutte praised the Canada-EU trade deal (CETA) as an example of how international trade can benefit everyone.

The deal went into provisional force last fall, but it has not yet been ratified by each of the countries that make up the EU.

Rutte said he is confident all countries eventually will sign on to the deal.

"There is so many pluses in this and it's not just trade. It also has to do with standards," he said. "It has to do with the principles of multilateralism, it has to do with free trade and fair trade, so it's a very modern foreign trade agreement."

Rutte said both Canada and the Netherlands need to do a better job of raising awareness of CETA and the opportunities it offers companies to increase trade.

"It seems the EU is doing a little bit better now with CETA into Canada than other way around, but that will change," he said. "One of the things I'm aiming for in this visit is to get Canadian companies more aware of the possibilities of CETA."

Dutch PM calls CETA "very modern" agreement 2:12

'A special history'

Rutte told Kapelos that he hopes to highlight the special bond between Canada and the Netherlands during his visit to Ottawa.

"(Seven thousand six hundred) Canadian servicemen lost their lives trying to liberate the Netherlands successfully," he said. "We have a special history, but it is also provides for a bright future."

Rutte stressed how the two countries see "eye-to-eye" on many global issues.

"Take issues like climate change, how to deal with migration, how to deal with international security, our role in NATO," he said. "All those issues we can work on together because Canada and the Netherlands have a lot to offer."

Watch Vassy Kapelos' full interview with the Dutch prime minister

Full Interview Dutch with PM Mark Rutte 10:19


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