In an ironic scheduling twist, the current prime minister and his predecessor will both be in Washington, speaking on the same day, about the same issue: the renegotiation of NAFTA, which enters a high-stakes phase this week.
Old political nemeses Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper might literally cross paths. Harper is scheduled to attend a panel discussion on trade Wednesday afternoon, just as Trudeau is a few blocks away at the White House, discussing thorny trade issues with President Donald Trump.
The former Conservative prime minister is on a panel at an event hosted by Dentons law firm that also features Newt Gingrich, a Trump confidant and former top U.S. lawmaker, and by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Some people in the senior ranks of the Canadian government and at Washington’s Canadian embassy were caught off-guard by Harper’s itinerary —those contacted by The Canadian Press last week said they were unaware Harper would be there on the same day as Trudeau.
One Liberal joked he’d spent enough time in his life worrying about Harper’s plans and didn’t intend to fret about them this week.