Michael's essay — When Justin met Donald
When Justin Trudeau visited the president of the United States, the First Lady gave him a stuffed Big Snoopy dog to play with.
He was four months old at the time. His father was Pierre Elliott, Canada's 15th prime minister; the President was Richard Nixon, the 37th president. And the First Lady was the sorrowful Pat Nixon.
According to high level sources who know absolutely nothing, Mr. Trudeau did not give Mr. Trump a stuffed Snoopy. It might've broken the ice.
Relations between the two men and their respective countries are frosty at the moment — to say the least. Mostly because of ongoing, and from all reports testy, trade negotiations.
The prime minister is miffed that the Trump administration has slapped a prohibitive duty on Bombardier airplanes, making it all but impossible to sell them in the United States.
Mr. Trump, on the other hand, wants Canada to drop its supply management regime, which protects the country's dairy industry.
Bilateral trade has often been the driving irritant in Canada-U.S. relations. Naturally, each side wants to take more than give. The NAFTA negotiations in the 90s were hard-fought, even bitter. Several times one side or the other threatened to walk away from the table.
The relationship really turns on how well or badly the two leaders get along.
The oddest relationship was between Pierre Trudeau and Richard Nixon. Apparently they liked each other. As the White House tapes show, Nixon called Trudeau an asshole, a son of a bitch and a pompous egghead. Trudeau's famous comeback: "I've been called worse things by better people."
Yet, Nixon was moved when Trudeau called to sympathize with the president over Watergate. For his part, Trudeau was grateful for Nixon's phone call of condolence after the assassination of Pierre Laporte by the FLQ.
Mr. Trudeau's first White House appearance was a smashing success. Forty odd years later, the magic apparently hasn't worn off.
His nonchalant handling of Mr. Trump and his moods may be the best way to deal with the erratic president.
Or maybe not.
Click 'listen' above to hear Michael's essay.