'We're not here to talk about your socks': Trudeau 'humiliated' fellow leaders, says former Aussie PM

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been accused of “humiliating” fellow world leaders by Australia's former prime minister.

Sam Edwards High Level Alberta

During new negotiations for a 2017 Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was accused of “humiliating” fellow world leaders by Australia's former prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

In an autobiography that was just published by Turnbull, he noted that he felt personally let down by Trudeau and criticized him for causing embarrassment to other world leaders after he didn’t show up for a very important meeting, according to the National Post.

Turnbull said he coincidentally had a meeting with the Canadian Prime Minister after that and instead of going over the previous meeting—he began to talk about his socks.

“Justin always wore perfectly tailored suits that fitted like a glove, bright socks and on this occasion two-tone shoes,” Turnbull wrote. “‘What do you think of the socks?’ he asked, crossing his legs as he sat down. ‘Justin,’ I said, ‘we’re not here to talk about your socks.’”

Turnbull said Trudeau also came out looking "flaky" after Canada’s indecision when it came to the trade deal.

There were supposed to be 11 countries meeting at the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference to come to an agreement on a revamped trade deal after President Trump pulled out earlier in 2017.

Turnbull said the deal was originally supposed to be called TPP-11, but the countries were so irritated by Trudeau's no show that they were ready to call a new agreement TPP-10 and exclude Canada.

The other leaders assumed that Trudeau was tentative on the new trade deal because he didn’t want to offend President Trump. Turnbull said that was not the right way to deal with Trump in A Bigger Picture, which came out on Monday.

“The best way to deal with Donald was to be up-front, frank and stand your ground; there was no other way to win his respect,” he wrote.

A new TPP-11 deal was eventually made called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement. Turnbull said the process was made much harder by Canada.

Canadian officials said that Trudeau wasn’t able to make the meeting due to another meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was running late.

Turnbull said that discussions with the trade minister of each country had given leaders the impression that the deal was at the point where leaders just had to shake hands and pose for pictures.

After the absence of Abe and Trudeau was noticed by the other leaders, people began to feel uneasy. Turnbull said that’s when Abe came into the meeting and looked “very flustered.”

After asking Abe about the situation, he responded, “Justin won’t sign. He’s pulling out.”

“I was extremely disappointed with Justin and felt really bad for Shinzo Abe. He’d put so much into the TPP-11 and this was a very public humiliation. Likewise for Prime Minister (Nguyen Xuan) Phuc of Vietnam. He had dozens of cameras waiting to record the historic moment, and then it hadn’t happened,” Turnbull wrote.

This was irritating for many leaders who felt they had gone out of their way for Canada throughout negotiations. Canada had pushed for the agreement to be called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Turnbull said he felt let down after believing that critics calling Trudeau a “lightweight” were being unfair to the young Prime Minister. He thought Trudeau may be “more thoughtful than some of his reviews suggested.”

He wrote, “This last minute backflip looked flaky. Had I misjudged him?”

That was shortly before the two met and Trudeau started talking about his colourful socks.

“What, Justin, is going on? You have just humiliated our friend Shinzo, who happens to be the leader of the third largest national economy in the world,” Turnbull wrote. “And, if that wasn’t enough, you have humiliated our host, Prime Minister Phuc.”

Turnbull says he started feeling like a “grumpy old man” becoming angry with Trudeau and he told him that Canada’s relationship with Japan may be damaged after the incident.

New meetings had to be held by world leaders to find out Canada’s standing with the APEC conference.

Trudeau eventually said that Canada was back in TPP-11 to the World Economic Forum in Davos.


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