Biden will make his first visit to Canada as president later this month



President Joe Biden will make his first trip to Canada later this month to hold talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and address the country’s parliament, the White House said Thursday.

Traditionally, it is customary to stop in the US’s northern neighbor during the first months of a presidency. But Covid-19 restrictions and the all-out war in Ukraine have delayed Biden’s first trip to Ottawa for more than two years.

The delay does not appear to have soured relations with fellow Liberal Trudeau, who is closely aligned with Biden on many policies. Nevertheless, during the visit scheduled for March 23-24, some issues related to trade and immigration will be resolved.

The White House has announced that First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Ottawa with her husband.

“Biden reaffirms the commitment of the United States to the US-Canada partnership and promotes our shared security, shared prosperity and shared values,” spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre wrote in a statement.

Biden and Trudeau recently coordinated when a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over parts of Canada and the United States. Later, US warplanes shot down other unidentified targets over the two countries.

Trudeau said during the events that he would discuss the security of North American airspace with Biden during his planned visit. The White House said the conversation will focus on “modernizing the North American Aerospace Defense Command.”

Jean-Pierre said that the two men will also discuss the issue of Ukraine. Trudeau, the longest-serving G7 leader, became an ally of Biden by providing military and financial aid to the country when Russia invaded.

Climate change, the opioid crisis and supply chain issues are also on the agenda, according to the White House.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, came to Canada only once for the Group of 7 summit in a forested resort in northern Quebec. His anger at Trudeau was later seen when he refused to sign a joint statement, calling the Canadian prime minister “very dishonest and weak.”

Biden, meanwhile, has met with Trudeau several times since taking office, including at the North American Leaders Summit in Mexico City in January.

The two men have known each other for years. One of Biden’s last trips as vice president was to attend a state dinner in his honor in Ottawa; during the toast, Biden recounted a call from Trudeau’s father, Pierre, who was then prime minister himself, when his first wife and daughter died in a car accident.

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