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Details of U.S. President Joe Biden's official visit to Canada announced


U.S. President Joe Biden will be making an official visit to Canada between March 23 and 24 to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and his trip to the nation's capital will include an address to Parliament.

Details of the coming trip— Biden's first to Canada since becoming president in January 2021—were confirmed by Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the White House on Thursday.

“President Biden will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the U.S.-Canada partnership and promote our shared security, shared prosperity, and shared values,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement.

Among the pressing cross-border issues that are set to be on the agenda: the role of Norad in defending North America including the Arctic in light of the recent takedown of unidentified aerial objects including a Chinese spy balloon that traversed both Canadian and American airspace, and modernizing the Safe Third Country Agreement amid irregular crossing tensions.

Other topics both sides say will come up: allies’ continued support for Ukraine and desire to see Russia held to account, the Canada United States Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), critical mineral supply chains, climate change’s prompting of the need to pivot to clean energy, the ongoing instability in Haiti, and the opioid crisis

“Canada and the United States are allies, neighbours, and most importantly, friends. As we face increasing global uncertainty, we will continue working together as we defend our continent and our shared values, create more opportunities for people and businesses on both sides of the border, and build strong economies as reliable suppliers as we move toward a net-zero world," Trudeau said in a statement.

"I look forward to welcoming President Biden to Canada.”

According to Jean-Pierre, Biden will use his speech to Parliament to "highlight the importance of the United States-Canada bilateral relationship."

Trudeau and Biden have met several times in recent years on the sidelines of various international summits, including recently at the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City where plans for a visit were first confirmed. 

On this visit to Canada, Biden will be joined by First Lady of the United States Jill Biden, who may hold events of her own, though a detailed itinerary of the two-day trip, hasn't yet been provided.

According to a statement from the PMO, the visit will allow the two leaders to "continue working closely together to strengthen trade ties, create good jobs, grow the middle class, and drive economic growth that benefits everyone on both sides of the border."

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. The last U.S. president to address Canadian parliamentarians was Barack Obama in June 2016. 

With files from CTV News Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier




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