Trudeau, Biden holding bilateral meeting, to unveil Canada-U.S. relationship roadmap
|CTVnews 23 Feb 2021 at 11:34|
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden are holding the first face-to-face virtual bilateral meeting this afternoon, when the two leaders will discuss and then unveil a "partnership roadmap" for the future of the Canada-U.S. relationship.
The roadmap will be "a blueprint for our whole-of-government relationship, based on our shared values and commitment to work in partnership on areas of mutual concern," according to a statement issued by the White House, Washington Bureau Correspondent Richard Madan.
The roadmap will outline how the two countries intend to work together to fight COVID-19, rebuild their economies, tackle climate change, advance diversity, improve national security measures and build international alliances.
The virtual meeting is expected to last about two hours, with top cabinet officials from both countries participating, including U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris. Beginning at 4 p.m. ET Trudeau and Biden will begin chatting and on the Canadian side, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau, and Ambassador of Canada to the United States Kirsten Hillman will participate.
Then at approximately 4:50 p.m. an expanded meeting will begin, including several members of Trudeaus cabinet and their American counterparts on the defence, natural resource, public safety, trade, transport, and environment files.
Both Biden and Trudeau are expected to speak about their shared vision and agreed path forward at around 5:45 p.m. ET, in what Trudeaus office is describing as a joint statement following the meeting.
Citing the unique bond between the two countries, the White House touted how deeply rooted the Canada-U.S. relationship is, ahead of the meeting.
From national security to global affairs to environmental protection to free trade, our two countries work closely together. Our bilateral trade totals nearly $2 billion every day in goods and services, and our people-to-people ties in education, small business, the arts and culture are unpatrolled, reads the statement.
Several subjects are expected to be on the agenda, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Canada-U.S. border restrictions which, combined, are the reason the typically in-person visit full of pomp and circumstance is taking place virtually from their respective offices.
The roadmap conversation will also likely see discussion on the two countries respective vaccine rollouts and aid for global immunization efforts; cross-border energy projects on the heels of the Keystone XL rejection; and relations with China given ongoing tensions and that countrys human rights abuses.
Tuesday marks the first meeting between the two world leaders since Biden s inauguration last month, though Trudeau did call Biden following his election win.
Last week, Trudeau said in a statement that he is looking forward to their meeting.
"Canada and the United States share one of the strongest and deepest friendships between any two countries in the world," he said. "It is built on common values, strong ties between our people, and a shared geography."
Senior U.S. officials have also told CTV News they are optimistic that the meeting will begin to "reinvigorate" ties between the two countries following a tense relationship during the prior U.S. administration under former president Donald Trump.
Its a longstanding tradition that the first international visit a U.S. president makes after inauguration is to Canada, and its a trip Trump didnt take, coming only briefly for a G7 summit in 2018.
Weve had a very rocky four years under Trump So what Biden is doing, what Obama did, and other presidents have in the past, is coming to coming to Canada virtually in order to show goodwill, said Michael Kergin, a former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. in an interview on CTV News Channel. Its really to change the tone and the tenor.