There's no question that tensions between Canada and the United States are higher than they have been in decades, even centuries.
In fact, Trump seems to be friendlier with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un than with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. While Trump met with Kim in Singapore, the president called J.T. "meek" and "mild."
I want to thank Chairman Kim for taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people. Our unprecedented meeting – the first between an American President and a leader of North Korea – proves that real change is possible! pic.twitter.com/yF3iwD23YQ— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, “US Tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around.” Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
In reponse, the Canadian parliament voted unanimously to condemn the American president.
But now it looks like the two countries will have to work more closely than ever before, as they, along with Mexico, plan to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Yesterday, FIFA awarded the games to the joint North American bid. The logistics and planning required will make cooperation on the continent necessary.
Though Trump will (hopefully) be out of office well before 2026, the vitriolic president could still complicate things for Canada's World Cup dreams.
1. Trump has to promise to temporarily suspend his travel ban.
Trump's infamous travel ban prevents people from several African and Middle East countries from visiting the United States. That could be a big problem if those countries' teams qualify for the World Cup, let alone the potentially thousands of tourists that will likely come from both areas to view the games. Right now, all FIFA has is Trump's word that the travel ban won't apply to visitors and athlethes at the World Cup, and we all know how reliable he is. If the travel ban is not lifted by Trump and his successor, that could derail the North American games alltogether.
2. Trump threatened to retaliate against countries that don't support the North American 2026 World Cup.
The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2018
In an April tweet, the president threatened to retaliate against countries that didn't support the North American bid for the 2026 World Cup. If countries decide to boycott the games, that could spell trouble for FIFA. Moreover, if Canada's plans for its portion of the games doesn't meet Trump's expectations, the president could intervene to cancel the games.
3. NAFTA is in trouble.
Trump has been threatening to abolish the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico for years. If the treaty falls apart, that could make cooperation between Canada and the United States very difficult, especially because the World Cup will require a tremendous exchange of goods and people.
4. Trump's comments about African countries already worried FIFA officials.
Remember when Trump reportedly lashed out about the quality of African countries? His tendency to drop comments unexpectedly either by mouth or on Twitter could put the World Cup in jeopardy if he angers some participating countries. There's no telling what the president will say now and 2026.
5. FIFA officials want Trump to stop investigating them.
The U.S. is investigating FIFA corruption. By bringing the World Cup to North America, FIFA officials could be trying to woo Trump in their favour. But only time will tell how Trump's attitude toward the organization could change.