Trudeau and Merkel talk trade, climate change ahead of June G7 summit

OTTAWA _ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about making progress at the G7 on climate change and combating protectionism when they meet next month in Quebec.

Both are hot-button topics with U.S. President Donald Trump, who will be making his Canadian debut at the June 8-9 gathering in Quebec’s Charlevoix region.

Merkel is the G7’s longest-serving leader, and has clashed with Trump in the past, including at his summit debut last year in Italy.

Trump’s trip to Canada is generating concerns among diplomats and analysts that Trudeau could wind up hosting a summit that could fracture the Group of Seven into a so-called “six-plus-one” configuration, with the U.S. as an outlier.

Trudeau and Merkel also discussed the need to make “meaningful investments” on educating girls and women in crisis settings, a topic that the prime minister is being pushed to champion by leading aid agencies and anti-poverty groups.

The two leaders spoke Tuesday while the prime minister was in Edmonton, but his office waited until today to release an account of the call.