US President Biden, Canada's Trudeau to meet virtually next week

James Marshall
Февраля 26, 2021

The Canadian prime minister said they agreed to an "ambitious new partnership" that will guide the work on COVID-19, climate change, and rising inequality. "Job one remains keeping people safe and ending this pandemic". Biden is anticipating that Trudeau will raise the issue and plans to make clear that the White House will be as "supportive as possible to help secure the release" of the two Canadian men, according to the senior Biden administration official.

Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were arrested in China in 2018 in what was seen as likely retaliation for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou that year on a U.S. warrant.

"Human beings are not bartering chips", Biden said, as Trudeau listened via video from Ottawa. It is in our best interest to work together to make things better for our people and both our countries.

Then, Biden will walk over to the White House residence and give a public statement.

"We both recognize our responsibility as leading democracies to defend our shared values around the world and to strengthen our own democracies at home", Biden said.

Trudeau echoed this sentiment and reiterated the need to support the worldwide bodies leading the fight. Prime Minister Trudeau will continue to work closely with President Biden to fight the pandemic and ensure a strong economic recovery to grow the middle class in both countries.

While there was no direct mention of the president's "Buy American" executive order and how it might impact Canada, in the post-meeting statements Trudeau did reinforce the shared reliance of both economies.

Trudeau, the leader of Canada's center-left Liberal Party, had a close relationship with the former Obama administration.

Only a diplomatically crafted readout from the Prime Minister's Office offered clues to how those discussions went.

Trudeau was the first world leader to congratulate Biden when he was declared the victor of the November U.S. election and his swift embrace illustrates the degree to which Canada, one of America's closest allies, is looking forward to turning the page on the Donald Trump era.

Trump, who re-categorized Canada and other US allies as competitors, had a sometimes tense personal relationship with Trudeau. "Canada and the United States are going to work in lockstep to display the seriousness of our commitment at both home and overseas", said Biden.

Their promises to meet Paris targets and cut greenhouse-gas emissions more intentionally is captured under what Biden deemed a new "high-level climate ambition ministerial".

The meeting will be the first official bilateral meeting since Biden took office, and a fact sheet released earlier in the day by the White House says this meeting is to set out a "road map" for Canada-U.S. relations.

Freeland congratulated Harris on her status as the first woman to be elected vice-president, calling her victory an inspiration to girls of colour from across Canada.

Canadians also have been angered that their government has been unable to secure COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna at plants close to the Canada-U.S. border, being relegated instead to ordering from Europe.

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