"Having a little more of an awareness of what’s going on in the rest of the world, I think is, is what many Canadians would hope for Americans," Trudeau said, in a transcript released to the Associated Press on Thursday.
About a third of Americans hold passports, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which also points out that passport holders number about 50 percent in Australia, more than 60 percent in Canada and some 80 percent in Britain.
Sure, there has always been a pronounced isolationist streak to Americans, a nation that in many senses is a continent unto itself. But in an age when the United States is the world's only superpower and to varying degrees entangled in myriad conflicts abroad, it does behoove Americans to know more about the world their country so profoundly impacts.
In the interview, Trudeau sets his sights more modestly. Just start with Canada -- you know, that place a lot of Americans are starting to see as safe haven.
“I think we sometimes like to think that, you know, Americans will pay attention to us from time to time, too,” Trudeau told CBS.
Trudeau and his Liberal party came to power after elections in October, ousting the once-entrenched conservative government of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Since then, the photogenic, well-coiffed new prime minister has championed something of a progressive renaissance: Trudeau's cabinet is the most diverse in the country's history; he has reasserted Canada's role at the forefront of climate change policy; his government has brought in more some 25,000 Syrian refugees in the space of just a few months. Throughout his own election campaign and in the months after its triumph, Trudeau remained a vocal defender of the principles of multiculturalism and feminism.
For these and other reasons, WorldViews suggested earlier this week that Trudeau represented the anti-Donald Trump. The Canadian prime minister seems everything the Republican front-runner is not.
And when it comes to this supposed American obliviousness about the rest of the world, Trudeau has a point. As WorldViews has cataloged over the past few months, the Republican debates have been a showcase for crude, simplistic discussions about foreign policy and global challenges, heavy on sound and fury, light on substance.
Unfortunately, the conversation reflects wider attitudes. A poll of Trump supporters found that more than two-thirds claimed to actively "dislike" American Muslims, let alone Muslims overseas. A lack of understanding of the strictures of the U.S. refugee vetting process led many in the United States to see Syria's destitute refugees as terror threats rather than people desperately fleeing a hideous, brutal war.
In a town hall in December, Trudeau stated his disapproval at the way Trump's nativist rhetoric was affecting American politics, though he didn't mention the former reality star by name.
"I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that I stand firmly against the politics of division, the politics of fear, the politics of intolerance or hateful rhetoric," Trudeau said. "If we allow politicians to succeed by scaring people, we don’t actually end up any safer. Fear doesn’t make us safer. It makes us weaker."
Still, don't expect Trudeau to directly confront Trump when he arrives in Washington.
"The prime minister will always state his values," said a Canadian government official, quoted anonymously in an article by the Canadian Press news agency. "But he’s not interested in stirring up domestic politics."
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