Canada braces for a Donald Trump visit in year 2018

Two days after Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, a group of anti-Trump Canadians met up in Ottawa to start an “Unwelcoming Committee.” The meeting was a first step in organizing a protest to Trump’s inevitable visit to Canada.

“While the exact details of Trump’s visit are still unknown, Canada is typically the first international trip of a newly inaugurated U.S. president,” the group wrote on its website. “But we’re not waiting for specifics.”

Only Trump didn’t come to Canada in 2017 as the anti-Trump group had anticipated. Instead, Trump opted to travel first to Saudi Arabia. Then he went to Israel. Then Palestine. Then Italy, the Vatican, Poland, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and, most recently, the Philippines.

Based on his active travel itinerary, one might be forgiven for wondering if it’s possible Trump might forgo any trip to Canada during his first term—but that is unlikely. “Unless something really crazy happens with Trump, he’s scheduled to arrive [in June],” says Srdjan Vucetic, an associate professor at University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. That’s when Canada hosts the G7 summit, which will take place at a remote luxury resort in La Malbaie, Que.

La Malbaie is 140 km northeast of Quebec City and 400 km from Montreal, which means there will be limited opportunity for mass protests. “This was something the Canadian government was aware of when they were choosing the summit site,” says John Kirton, director of the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. “Going to La Malbaie was a decision with Trump in mind.”

“You would expect less protest because of the distance involved for protesters to get there,” says Pierre-Yves Bourduas, a former RCMP deputy commissioner. “It’s also easier to contain than an urban environment, where security details are more complex.” Nevertheless, security will be maxed out with so many world leaders at the venue. “I’ve talked to people responsible for this particular G7 summit, and they’re well-prepared,” adds Bourduas.

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