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Joe Biden's visit to Canada confirmed, as feds agree to buy U.S. missile defence system for Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden will be making an official visit to Canada in March, his first trip to this country since becoming president in January 2021.

News of the trip— confirmed by officials on both sides of the border on Tuesday—came alongside an announcement that Canada will be buying a U.S. missile defence system for Ukraine.

These developments stem from a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Biden at the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City.

During that meeting, according to a readout from the Prime Minister's Office, Trudeau invited Biden to Canada. The pair of world leaders also spoke about cross-border trade, competitiveness and supply chains.


While Biden's visit has been delayed in part by COVID-19 travel restrictions, the trip marks a return to a customary practice that newly-elected U.S. presidents make a visit north early in their term.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump did not make an official visit to Canada during his time in the White House, however he did come for a brief but memorable G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Que. in 2018.

Biden was last in Ottawa on official business when he was the guest of honour at a state dinner in December 2016 -- just weeks before Trump took office -- where he exclaimed, "Vive le Canada."

Back in 2020 on the heels of their election, MPs unanimously agreed to invite Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris to visit Canada as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic was under control in both countries.

At the time, MPs invited Biden to address Parliament. It remains to be seen whether his itinerary will include an Ottawa address. The last U.S. president to address Canadian parliamentarians was Barack Obama, in June 2016.


The last world leader to address Canadian parliamentarians, though, was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

During his virtual address last March, Zelenskyy implored the federal government to further assist his country in its fight against the ongoing Russian attacks, and to "close the sky" over Ukraine.

While not the NATO-led no-fly zone he was seeking, on Tuesday Trudeau announced that Canada will purchase a U.S.-made National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) for Ukraine.

Defence Minister Anita Anand said that she heard directly from her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov that "air defence systems are Ukraine's top priority." 

Designed to help protect populated areas and critical infrastructure against drone, missile, and aircraft attacks, the equipment and associated munitions Canada is donating to Ukraine—the first donation of the sort that Trudeau's government has made to the embattled country— is valued at approximately $406 million.

This funding will come from the additional $500 million in military aid to Ukraine that Trudeau announced in November 2022.

"Canada will continue to collaborate with the United States, as well as other Allies and partners, to address Ukraine’s defence priorities in the short and long term – including with high-capability equipment such as the NASAMS," said Anand in a statement.

Praising Canada's decision to provide "a strong shield for our cities and citizens," Zelenskyy thanked Trudeau for “helping us to protect our sky.”  



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