U.S. President Joe Biden will deliver an address to Parliament during his highly anticipated trip north later this month.
The speech is expected to be the highlight of the two-day visit on March 23 and 24 — Biden’s first in-person visit to Canada since becoming president. Details of the trip have been confirmed in a news release obtained by CBC News ahead of its release.
Plans for the trip have been in the works for weeks and multiple sources have told CBC News that Canadian officials have pitched various photo ops and events for Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Biden administration signed off on the tour plan in the days before it was announced.
“As we face increasing global uncertainty, we will continue working together as we defend our continent and our shared values, create more opportunities for people and businesses on both sides of the border, and build strong economies as reliable suppliers as we move toward a net-zero world,” Trudeau said in the news release. “I look forward to welcoming President Biden to Canada.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed Biden will be accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden. She said the two leaders will discuss a range of files, including mutual defence, climate change, strengthening supply chains and tackling the crisis in Haiti.
The tour schedule is expected to set aside time for Trudeau and Biden to talk privately — something one senior government source said was requested by the Americans.
Sources on both sides of the border say Biden and Trudeau genuinely like each other. And while there are significant irritants in the Canada-U.S. relationship right now, it’s also enjoying a period of relative calm after the chaos of the previous presidential administration.
Donald Trump visited Canada just once during his presidency, for the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec. The summit is remembered mostly for ending on a sour note when Trump tweeted a round of personal insults at Trudeau.
The Trudeau government pushed the Biden administration for a presidential visit. Ottawa sees it as an opportunity to showcase the depth and strength of the Canada-U.S. relationship at a time of geopolitical uncertainty.
The White House finally agreed to a Canadian trip during the North American Leaders Summit in Mexico City this past January.
Biden and Trudeau are expected to address some of the big-picture challenges of the moment when they meet.
A senior government source with direct knowledge of the file said the two leaders will discuss Russia’s war on Ukraine and opportunities to offer the country more support.
They’ll talk about the environment and climate change, reflecting shared priorities at a time when both countries have been trying to foster the electric vehicle sector and create new jobs in the process. Canada is trying to play catch-up after the U.S. Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which offers hundreds of billions of dollars in green energy investments.
Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss shared concerns about the Canada-U.S. border and the migrant crisis. While Ottawa has been pushing for changes to the Safe Third Country Agreement, Washington is looking for broader help in addressing the root causes of irregular migration.
One major source of concern flagged by U.S. officials ahead of previous high-level Canada-U.S. meetings has been the growing instability in Haiti.
American officials have suggested Canada could lead a multinational force in Haiti. Canada has resisted those calls and has instead pledged millions of dollars in aid and multiple shipments of armoured vehicles to bolster Haiti’s own security forces.
The last American president to address Parliament, Barack Obama, delivered a friendly speech urging Canada to do more on the world stage, specifically with NATO.
“Because the Canadian Armed Forces are really good. And if I can borrow a phrase, the world needs more Canada. NATO needs more Canada. We need you,” Obama said in his 2016 address.
It’s a theme that has carried through multiple administrations. President Trump was far more blunt in his message to all NATO partners — he threatened to pull the U.S. out of the security pact unless member countries started spending more on defence.
This visit comes at a time when both Trudeau and Biden could use distractions from their own domestic challenges.
The Liberal government has faced intense criticism and pointed questions over reports alleging foreign interference in Canadian elections.
The Biden administration is trying to navigate multiple crises — including the influx of migrants at its southern border, growing tensions with China and the need to maintain the American public’s support for aid to Ukraine.
While a visit from an American president can be expected to dominate the Canadian news cycle, it won’t break through the U.S. media landscape in the same way — which means it won’t help Biden as much as it might help Trudeau.
Source : CBC