As Canada mulls options for responding to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum – as well as his rhetoric surrounding U.S. trade relations with its ally – Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday the government will not rule out sanctions specifically targeting the Trump Organization.
The Hill reported Thursday that Freeland’s comments came after a question and answer session with lawmakers, where one politician asked if she had considered retaliatory measures aimed directly at the president’s businesses as opposed to the American people in general.
Freeland did not reject the idea, saying that the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration against Canada, Mexico and other nations are "illegal" and "unjustified," according to [Canadian magazine Maclean’s]. She also echoed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's criticism, saying Trump's national security justification is an insult to Canadians.
“We are now in a consultation period. We welcome ideas from all Canadians on what should and what should not be in our retaliation list," she added, according to Maclean's.
The question came from Regina-Lewvan MP Erin Weir, who called upon the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act – often referred to as the Sergei Magnitsky law – which Maclean’s indicates may be enacted when a “foreign national has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material or technological support for, or goods or services in support of” acts of corruption.:
Maclean's notes that the law Weir cites is most commonly utilized for foreigners responsible for human rights violations. It allows the government to enforce travel bans and asset freezes.
“It is an interesting one, given President Trump’s alleged ties with Russia,” Weir said, according to the magazine. “I can see how it would be seen as a radical measure, but we are confronted with a radical reality from the Trump administration."