Coronavirus forces Biden to forgo pomp for US-Canada meeting

26 Février, 2021, 14:08 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • By Canadian Press	
	 		Climate China Buy American to dominate Biden bilateral with prime minister Tuesday

Biden and Trudeau plan to discuss the public health and economic crises caused by the pandemic, as well as shared goals on addressing climate change, addressing racism and discrimination, and other issues, a senior USA administration official told reporters ahead of the meeting.

In pre-pandemic times, such a meeting would have been held with fanfare: Biden welcoming the Canadian prime minister with great pomp upon his arrival, an Oval Office talk between the two leaders, a joint news conference and perhaps a luncheon. Both leaders shared their vision for building back better by supporting hard-hit small and medium-sized businesses and creating good middle class jobs, especially for women and young people. "The US is determined to re-engage with Europe", Biden said, referring to the worsened US-Europe relations during the previous administration of President Donald Trump. They discussed working together to reduce pollution, protect nature and biodiversity, and collaborate on critical minerals and clean energy.

"Thank you again for stepping up in such a big way on tackling climate change - US leadership has been sorely missed over the past years", he said.

"Of course, the prime minister will bring up whatever he would like to bring up, as is true of any bilateral meeting".

It also mentioned social diversity and inclusion, expanded co-operation on continental defence and a modernized Norad, plans for a cross-border dialogue on the Arctic and restoring a collective commitment to global institutions like North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the World Trade Organization.

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

They also discussed "the importance of avoiding measures that may constrain the critical trade and supply-chain security between our countries".

The CBC's Alexander Panetta reports that-according to a source who spoke confidentially to CBC News-the detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China is also expected to be raised by Trudeau.

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This productive bilateral meeting is another step to revitalize and expand ties with our largest and closest partner, the United States.

Both leaders agreed economic relief must target those the pandemic has hit hardest.

Trudeau, the leader of Canada's center-left Liberal Party, had a close relationship with the former Obama administration. "We're going to work together until we get their safe return", Biden said after the meeting, although he did not offer specifics on how the USA would help beyond reaffirming his commitment to stand out against human rights abuse.

"I'm sending a clear message to the world: America is back".

But there may be more fights in the future, provided the U.S.is serious about meeting its climate-change goals, said Bill Reilly, who led the Environmental Protection Agency from 1989 to 1993 under former president George Bush. Biden was seated at one end of the table, with Vice President Kamala Harris to the right of him.

The leaders were joined during their virtual bilateral meeting today by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau, as well as Vice President Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

White House officials will also hold virtual meetings with Canadian ministers on specific policy issues, Psaki added.

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