The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, will not meet Belgium’s King and Queen, who are currently on a one-week state visit to Canada. Several Canadian politicians believe the Prime Minister is both impolite and does not have his priorities straight. An anonymous source from a high diplomatic level in Canada told The Star that the Belgian delegation was “obviously” disappointed that Trudeau did not make time to meet them.
From the standpoint of diplomatic protocol, Governor General Julie Payette is the official host of the Belgian royal couple. It was still expected that Trudeau would make time for the delegation, given the strong trade ties between the two countries. Bilateral trade between Canada and Belgium totalled almost $6.5 billion last year, according to Global Affairs Canada.
The Prime Minister’s office says that Trudeau cannot meet the royals because he is in crisis meetings due to the new potential American tariffs towards the steel and aluminium industry. The Prime Minister’s office says that three of Trudeau’s ministers will meet with the delegation on behalf of the Prime Minister. Senior members of the Quebec and Ontario local governments and business leaders are also scheduled to meet with the Royals. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde have also met Canada’s Governor General Julie Payette.
The state visit had already gained international attention after the Belgian royals were greeted with German flags when they arrived in Canada.
The Belgian delegation of 150 members includes seven ministers, including Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders, as well as representatives from the country’s three regions. When Pierre Trudeau, the father of Justin Trudeau, was Prime Minister of Canada he met with King Baudouin when he visited the nation in 1977.