OTTAWA — Canada’s Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman said she had some “conversations” with the U.S. administration in the wake of disparaging comments top Trump adviser Peter Navarro made about Canada’s troops.
Speaking to CTV’s Question Period during Sunday’s episode, Hillman emphasized that Canadian forces are “deeply respected by the United States and Americans.”
However, when pressed on whether she took any action in the wake of the inflammatory comments, Hillman said she did.
“I had some conversations, yes,” Hillman told Question Period Host Evan Solomon.
Solomon pressed Hillman further, inquiring whether she elicited an apology from the Americans she spoke to about the issue.
“I had many members of my network of contacts here in Washington express their deep appreciation and respect for the Canadian troops,” Hillman said in response.
Navarro, who serves as the director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy for U.S. President Donald Trump, maintains that his comments were “taken out of context,” after he appeared to question Canada’s contribution to the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, where 158 Canadian soldiers died and more than 40,000 served over the 12-year operation.
“Every time that a Canadian shows up in a uniform, it’s doing us a favour? How’s that work?” Navarro said in a recorded interview that was published in the new book “The Madman Theory: Trump Takes On the World.”
The book’s author and Navarro’s interviewer, CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto, countered that “a lot” of Canadians “died in Afghanistan.”
“Yeah,” Navarro said. “But yeah, but was it, were they doing us a favour or were they bought into the idea that they needed to do that as part of the global effort against terrorists? I mean if they were just doing us a favour, maybe their government should have been thrown out of office. Right?”
When Navarro’s comments first emerged in August, they angered top military brass in Canada.
Former Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier, who at one point commanded the NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, weighed in at the time to say that “every Canadian should be insulted by comments like that.”
Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan also weighed in on Twitter after Navarro’s comments were made public.
“Canadians will not forget their sacrifice and having served alongside them, I know the American military and everyday Americans will not forget that Canada was there for them in their time of need,” Sajjan said.
With files from CTV National News’ Richard Madan