From statements to seating: What goes into a prime ministerial meeting
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump conclude their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP / Evan Vucci)
Published Monday, February 13, 2017 3:00PM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 13, 2017 7:26PM EST
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump met Monday after weeks of buildup. And while the public saw very little of what happened throughout the mostly closed-door meetings, there's even more behind-the-scenes action prior to the leaders setting sight on each other.
"Public servants and political staff typically do as much as they can to prepare the outcomes of the meeting beforehand," said Roland Paris, a former senior adviser to Trudeau on global affairs.
Paris is now the university research chair in international security and governance at the University of Ottawa's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and was not involved in planning Trudeau's trip to D.C.
Those outcomes include what are known as "deliverables," like joint statements or announcements, "which are usually the result of advanced negotiation between the two sides," Paris said in an email to CTVNews.ca.
Those announcements can be released within minutes of a meeting wrapping up, such as Monday's joint statement.
Protocol people are generally present ahead of the meetings, handling details as minute as where to place the respective countries' flags for the photo op.
The visiting country will also send officials to the host country in advance of the meeting to finalize details.
Those officials include civil servants from Global Affairs Canada, including its protocol office, as well as ministers' offices and the Prime Minister's Office. The PMO has what's known as an advance team to help prepare the logistics of meetings and news conferences.
While the planning takes weeks ahead of the visit, the topics to be discussed aren't necessarily decided ahead of time. The leaders' discussion can go in any number of directions, Paris said, though both would go into the meeting knowing the points they want to raise and trying to anticipate the points the other will raise.
"There is no predicting how the interaction between two leaders will go until they are actually in the room speaking to each other," Paris said.
"It's very much two people in a conversation, and like any two people meeting for the first time, a lot of this meeting would be about their getting to know each other."
"The personal dimensions of diplomacy matter a lot."
The meeting between the two leaders usually lasts between 30 to 60 minutes, but experts look at the initial meeting as one that will help the president and prime minister forge a bond that could last through their respective years in office.
The two countries involved in a bilateral meeting will negotiate in advance which officials will be included in a meeting, with efforts made to place counterparts across from each other.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Transport Minister Marc Garneau accompanied Trudeau to D.C.
The prime minister's top advisers are also there, including Katie Telford, Trudeau's chief of staff, Gerry Butts, his principal secretary, and Kate Purchase, his director of communications. Telford and Purchase were at the table for a photo op of Trump and Trudeau holding a roundtable with female executives.
Telford and Butts were among the Canadian officials holding high-level meetings with Trump's advisers ahead of his inauguration on Jan. 20. The meetings included Steve Bannon, White House chief strategist, and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.