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Trudeau, Biden’s first bilateral meeting to lay out future of Canada-U.S. relations


Feb 23, 2021 at 11:17 am MST

FILE – In this Dec. 9, 2016 file photo, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with then U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Biden will still host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday for the first bilateral meeting but will do it virtually. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press via AP)

The prime minister and U.S. president will hold the first official bilateral meeting Tuesday afternoon

The two leaders are expected to lay out a road map for the future of Canada-U.S. relations

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden meet virtually Tuesday afternoon, the two leaders will be looking to unveil a plan for Canada and the U.S.

The meeting will be the first official bilateral meeting since Biden took office, and a fact sheet released earlier in the day by the White House says this meeting is to set out a “road map” for Canada-U.S. relations.

Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat who was posted in the U.S., said the map will set out goals in areas of mutual interest, including the COVID-19 response, climate change, economic recovery, and defence.

However, it’s not clear if this plan will include some of Canada’s priorities, such as procuring more COVID-19 vaccine doses made in the U.S., freeing Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from China, or securing an exemption to Biden’s Buy American policy.

NDP Leader Jagemeet Singh said he wants to see Canada get an exemption from the policy.

“Given the fact that our economies are so integrated, products aren’t just made in Canada or America. Often the very same product goes over the border a couple of times,” he said.

Robertson expects Biden to Trudeau support when it comes to China, but he doesn’t think the president will make any promises when it comes to the Buy American approach. The former diplomat believes Biden will likely put off granting an exemption for the time being.

“I think that they’ll probably punt it to study. I think we’re going to have to make the case,” Robertson added.

The two leaders will also likely discuss Keystone XL, the ill-fated cross-border pipeline expansion that has become a lightning rod for political criticism from both sides of the aisle.

The meeting will start with only Trudeau and Biden one-on-one before the meeting expands to include the cabinets of both governments.