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Trump blasted for asking ally Canada whether it didn’t burn down White House in 1814

By Shubham

They are known to be close allies but of late, the relations between the US and Canada - two massive neighbours of the Western Hemisphere - have seen more lows.

The election of Donald Trump as the president of the US created the initial uneasiness as he sought a protectionist stance and showed less trust on regional free trade but things turned for the worse after the US imposed increased tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada and other allies, leaving the Justin Trudeau government livid.

US President Donald Trump

On May 25, when Trudeau sought a justification for Washington's controversial decision and how it would help the cause of the US's national security, Trump countered asking whether the Canadians hadn't burnt down the White House during the War of 1812.

"Didn't you guys burn down the White House?" Trump asked, according to CNN and CBC reports.

According to a report in the New York Times, it was not clear if the president was trying to make a joke during his call with Trudeau after the fresh tariffs were imposed by Washington on steel and aluminium imports heading to the US from Canada.

But Trump was criticised for his remark as Canada was not a nation until 1867 which was long after the British troops' burning down the White House in 1814.

The war which was fought over two centuries earlier between the US and UK and their respective allies saw the White House getting burnt down by the British and it was seen as a retaliation for the American attack on York, the current-day Toronto in Canada which was a British colony then, in 1813. The seat of the US government had shifted to Washington, still a town then, in 1800 and it took three years to rebuild the gutted White House before President James Monroe moved into it.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, June 6, the Canadian government refused Trump's proposal to scrap the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement or Nafta (which also includes Mexico, another country Trump has often attacked) and bring into place a bilateral trade pact. Trump even set the condition that if the revised Nafta deal was approved, Washington would do away with the newly imposed 25 per cent tariffs on the steel and aluminium products.

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