The leaders spoke publicly before and after the conspiracy: Biden speaking from the Roosevelt Room at the White House, Trudeau from his office on Parliament Hill. Access to the media in Ottawa and Washington was limited and questions were not answered.
The first virtual bilateral meeting at the White House produced a roadmap for collaboration with a strong focus on the environment.
There may have been no handshakes, but the tone was warm. “America has no closer, or closer, friend than Canada,” Biden said.
Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland were beaming beneath their masks.
Trudeau was first with Biden from the beginning, a habit that dates back to the Obama administration. At the end of the afternoon, Biden responded in kind.
Former President Donald Trump was not directly mentioned, although Trudeau praised Biden for reaffirming America’s leadership on global climate policy. “As we prepare for the joint launch and joint release, it is a good thing that the Americans are not removing all references to climate change and instead adding them,” he said, nodding at the Trump administration’s attempts to irrigate. below statements from international allies on the issue during his presidency.
At the beginning of the two-hour meeting, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke warmly about going to high school in Montreal. Freeland chimed in that he had read Harris’s autobiography and agreed that French was a difficult language to learn. Biden joked about his French skills, despite having studied the language for five years in his youth.
Despite all the niceties, the meeting did not resolve deep-rooted problems between nations.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned journalists beforehand that the US would not announce a plan to share Covid-19 vaccines with its northern neighbor, nor would it exempt it from the Biden’s Buy executive order. American, whose implementation the White House is “still evaluating.” Administration officials also did not promise that nothing would change Biden’s position on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Still, the leaders made sure to publicly focus on common priorities and on issues of particular importance to each other.
In the joint “roadmap” for renewed Canada-US cooperation issued after the meeting, Biden and Trudeau pledged to update their 2030 carbon targets under the Paris Agreement by the time the US hosts its climate summit. in April. They agreed to rely on scientific and public health recommendations when considering any future relaxation of border restrictions between Canada and the United States, and committed to working with multinational institutions to support the global distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Biden reaffirmed Washington’s support for Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians whom China has detained for more than two years in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of a Huawei executive at the request of the United States. Trudeau acknowledged the devastating winter storm in Texas, noting that Saskatchewan’s utility company SaskPower has exported power to the state.
They closed the day practically side by side, with one leader visible on a monitor next to the lectern where the other was speaking.
“We are facing tough times, there is no question,” Trudeau said. “But we don’t face them alone.”