Feb. 23 – U.S. U.S. During a virtual bilateral meeting on Tuesday, President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reaffirmed their commitment to working together as close allies, especially to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.Biden issued a warm greeting to Trudeau, who called in from Ottawa, via video conference at the White House, announcing that the United States has “no closer friend than Canada.”
“That’s why you were my first call as president, my first bilateral meeting … and so our channel of communication is wide open,” Biden said. The conversation follows a cold partnership between the two nations under the Trump administration and the recent decision by Biden to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline and the difficulties of Canada in receiving coronavirus vaccines from plants along the border between the U.S. and Canada.
Prior to the conference, the White House issued a Cooperation Roadmap between the United States and Canada focusing on “the recovery from COVID-19 and global health security, efforts to combat climate change and shared priorities in defense and security.”Biden said it was a “immediate priority” for both nations to get COVID-19 under control while they committed to strengthening the World Health Organization and cooperating to improve the supply chain to ensure economic recovery.
“We’re facing tough times, there’s no doubt, but we’re not facing them alone. Canada and the United States are each other’s closest allies, most important trading partners and oldest friends. And we stand united to beat this pandemic and build a better tomorrow,” Trudeau said.Biden and Trudeau will initiate a high-level climate ministerial on climate change, the White House says it will coordinate strategy and priorities in view of the return of the United States under the current U.S. administration to the Paris Climate Agreement.
The White House said, “They will commit to strengthened implementation of the Paris Agreement by working jointly and with others to increase the scale and speed of action toward the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,”Biden’s decision to return the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement was applauded by Trudeau, referring to prior occasions where the Trump administration declined to sign statements discussing the effects of climate change.”U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past — past years.
And I have to say as we’re preparing the joint rollout and communique from this one, it’s nice when the Americans are not pulling out all references to climate change and, instead, adding them,” he said.Via international organizations such as the United Nations, the G7, the G20, the World Trade Organization, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, the two leaders have agreed to work on resolving global problems, as well as to commit themselves to more trilateral meetings with Mexico.
Biden reiterated U.S. support for the release of two Canadians who have been imprisoned in China since 2018 on spying charges, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. Their detention is widely seen as being politically motivated for China to use them as leverage to obtain the release of Meng Wanzou, a Huawei executive detained at the behest of the United States by Canadian authorities in December 2018.”Human beings are not bartering chips. You know, we’re going to work together until we get their safe return,” Biden said.