The recent US decision to impose import steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union, and others, is expected to be a "front and center" issue at the Group of Seven (G7) summit that will begin on Friday in Quebec, a former Canadian prime minister said on Thursday.
On Thursday evening, rows of officers in protective gear watched closely as protesters gathered for what organizers had described as a "festive mass demonstration against the G7, capitalism, patriarchy, colonialism, racism, and borders". Quebec City's significant district looked deserted as though business owners were devising for a microscopic hurricane to blow through the cobblestone streets and many stores were barricaded with plywood expecting the anti G7 protests.
Though the majority of people present were peaceful, about two dozen masked protesters threatened journalists, scrawled graffiti on windows and walls, and set the flags of G7 countries on fire.
"You're going to have the majority of the G7 countries wanting to deal with this, as was the case with the finance ministers when they met in Whistler (a resort municipality in the Canadian province of British Columbia)", said Paul Martin, who is also a former Canadian finance minister, in an interview.
"If they retaliate", Trump said, "they're making a mistake".
The amount of detention centers that have been initiated in the Quebec City area in prediction of rallies is provoking human rights group to contemplate about objectives of security forces.
And the traditional "family photo" - featuring UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte - offers a glimpse of the tension.
"In a country like Canada, I find it extremely important that people are able to express their agreement or disagreement with politics, individuals, their concerns", Trudeau said. "And we will ensure that protesters and citizens and G7 participants are safe".
"We're like the piggy bank that everybody's robbing", Trump said.
In Quebec City, however, there was no hint of protesters feeling inhibited.
"I think the protest was peaceful. This was a model protest and what they all should be like".