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Trudeau skips meeting Belgian royalty, business delegation

OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is raising diplomatic eyebrows for not meeting with Belgian royalty and business leaders during their week-long visit to Canada.
Trudeau has no plans to meet with the Belgian royal couple, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, or their delegation of 150 business leaders, academics and political leaders, who arrived Sunday.
While senior members of the Quebec and Ontario governments and business leaders are scheduled to meet with the group, sources tell the Star the delegation feels snubbed by the federal Liberals.
“With CETA, we’re even closer to Europe right now. We should be aligning ourselves on the political front,” said one source, refering to the free trade deal between the European Union and Canada.
The source, who spoke on background due to diplomatic sensitivities, said the delegation was “obviously” disappointed that Trudeau didn’t make time to meet.
The prime minister this week is touring steel and aluminum facilities in Quebec and Ontario communities to voice opposition to potential American tariffs on those industries.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said last week Canada would be exempt from those tariffs, at least for now.
An official with the Prime Minister’s Office noted three cabinet ministers will receive the delegation during their time in Canada, including International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, Treasury Board President Scott Brison and Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan.

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