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Canada's Trudeau tells Biden US leadership has been 'sorely missed'

Trudeau Tells Biden US Leadership Has Been ‘Sorely Missed’

OTTAWA, Canada – The US President, Joe Biden, on Tuesday declared the best friends of Canada and the United States, while Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, called the friendship “extraordinary” in a virtual meeting that turned the page on the turbulent era of Donald Trump.
“The United States has no closer friend than Canada,” Biden said, setting the tone for the video link meeting between the White House and Trudeau’s office in Ottawa.
“We have a strong agenda today and we are all best served when the United States and Canada work together and lead together,” Biden said in public remarks before embarking on closed-door talks.
Repaying the compliment, Trudeau said they would work “together to get through Covid, but also to make sure that we are doing all we can around the world and making the world a better and safer place for everyone.”
Trudeau thanked Biden – who put the United States back in the Paris climate agreement on reducing global carbon emissions – for his policies on global warming.
“American leadership has been sorely missed in the last few years,” he said in a not-so-hidden dig at Trump.
The White House claims that Tuesday’s in-depth talks will provide a “road map” for better relations.
Trump, who re-categorized Canada and other U.S. allies as competitors, had a sometimes-strained personal relationship with Trudeau.
In contrast, Trudeau was the first foreign leader to phone Biden after winning the November election and Trudeau was the first foreign leader the Democrat called after walking into the Oval Office.
The White House has underlined the extent to which Canada-US relations play an important role in multilateral contexts, from the G7 to NATO, including the Five Eyes intelligence alliance and the WTO.
But as Canada anxiously awaits more predictable behavior from its largest trading partner, Biden has already introduced its own new source of friction by canceling the Keystone XL cross-border pipeline project, citing environmental concerns.
One area Biden and Trudeau did not comment on in the public portion of their remarks was the United States’ decision to cancel the license for the Keystone XL pipeline, a project fiercely opposed by environmentalists but backed by Ottawa and previously by Trump.
Biden canceled the permit by executive order on the first day of his tenure.
Biden and Trudeau said they are addressing several mutual priorities, including climate change and boosting the North American economy.
“By being on the same line on multiple topics, like climate change or economic recovery, we can do more together,” Trudeau’s office said.
“The President made it clear that this was a commitment he made in the past, that it was not in the best interests of the United States and that we wanted to try to resolve our climate crisis, while also creating well-paying union jobs,” White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, said.
They also waded into the thorny issue of competition with China in world trade and Beijing’s continued detention of two Canadian nationals.
Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were arrested in China in 2018 in what was seen as likely retaliation for the Vancouver arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
“The Prime Minister has raised his concerns directly to the President, and of course he is welcome today.”
Although virtual, the discussions closely followed the format of regular bilateral face-to-face meetings with leaders.
US Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, along with their Canadian counterparts, also participated.

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