Canada has told the Trump administration that a proposal to put troops at the US-Canada border amid the pandemic is entirely unnecessary and would damage relations between the two longtime allies.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government has been in discussions with the White House in a bid to convince the US not to do it.
"Canada and the United States have the longest un-militarised border in the world and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way," Trudeau said.
Donald Trump suggested he would deploy troops along the Canadian border to match what is being done at the Mexican border.
"I guess it's equal justice to a certain extent," Trump said. "We have a lot of things coming in from Canada, we have trade, some illegal trade, that we don't like."
The president mentioned steel in particular, suggesting troops could prevent steel dumping.
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said they have told the Trump administration there is no justification for troops. Very few people cross the border into the US from Canada illegally and Canada has universal health care and widespread testing for the virus. And COVID-19 cases are surging more in the US than in Canada.
Freeland said Canada is "very directly and very forcefully" expressing the view that "this is an entirely unnecessary step" that it would "view as damaging to the relationship."
""This is strictly showmanship on the part of the American president. It will have no practical impact. It is an attempt to impress the American public that the president is doing something," said Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto.
He called Trump's comments about steel and the border "typical Trump gibberish: a combination of bluster, falsities, and hyperbole."
Bruce Heyman, a former US ambassador to Canada, said it would be a serious misuse of resources and a dangerous and inappropriate use of American troops.
Australian Associated Press