US President Biden, Canada's Trudeau to meet virtually next week

Katie Ramirez
February 26, 2021

Trump responded by calling Trudeau "two-faced".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. "We're going to work together until we get their safe return".

The two were detained in China in an apparent act of retaliation after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018 on USA charges of violating sanctions on Iran.

They have remained in custody ever since, held on what the federal government and global observers alike have described as bogus charges aimed at putting relentless pressure on Canada.

On Kovrig and Spavor, Psaki did not acknowledge the question of whether Biden would offer any more help with getting the two Canadians home from China.

The public portions of Tuesday's meeting were cordial from the start.

The summit begins with a 45-minute closed-door bilateral meeting with Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, along with their Canadian counterparts. He will be joined by Trudeau, on a monitor.

Trudeau welcomed the US back to the world stage, saying the country's leadership has been "sorely missed", and threw his own veiled swipe at the Trump administration over the repeated times they removed references to climate change from joint statements.

Trudeau is also expected to again raise concerns to Biden about two Canadians imprisoned in China in apparent retaliation for Canada's arrest of a top Huawei executive, according to a senior Canadian official familiar with the prime minister's preparation for the call.

The White House emphasized how U.S.

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Canadians also have been angered that their government has been unable to secure COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna at plants close to the Canada-U.S. border, being relegated instead to ordering from Europe.

Both sides are touting the long-standing partnership between the USA and Canada, but bones of contention have already emerged during Biden's tenure in the White House. They also discussed important defence and security issues, including modernizing NORAD, as well as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missions, cybersecurity threats, and firearms.

There was no direct mention of Canada's hope for an exemption to Buy American, Biden's protectionist guardrails for infrastructure and procurement projects, nor of COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Canada is the largest supplier of all forms of energy to the U.S.

The Prime Minister and President discussed efforts to address key regional, national, and global challenges, and priorities in multilateral forums, including the G7, the G20, and the United Nations.

Biden and Trudeau plan to deliver joint closing statements at the end of their meeting.

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

On his first day in office, Biden upheld a campaign promise to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline that would have transferred oil from Alberta to Nebraska, upsetting Ottawa.

The president has long believed the project was not in the best interests of the USA and was simply making good on his promise during the election campaign to cancel it, Psaki said.

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