OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is “really looking forward” to working with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate California Senator Kamala Harris, congratulating the pair on their historic election victory that was declared Saturday morning.

“Our two countries are close friends, partners, and allies. We share a relationship that’s unique on the world stage. I’m really looking forward to working together and building on that with you both,” the prime minister posted on social media, just minutes after the election was called in favour of the Democrats. 

Biden and Harris—soon to be America’s first Black, South Asian and female vice-president—clinched their victory in critical battleground states, turning Trump and Vice President Mike Pence into one-term leaders.

Trump has not conceded, with his campaign stating on Friday that "this election is not over." Instead, the Republicans have waged a series of legal challenges to the vote, which Trump is claiming baselessly and without evidence has been fraudulent and improperly managed in some key states.

Expanding on his initial comment, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement that does not reference Trump directly but mentions the “extraordinary relationship” between the two nations.

On Friday Trudeau said that he had faith in the American electoral process to determine a fair and accurate result, and understood that citizens on both sides of the border were eagerly awaiting the declaration of a winner but cautioned the importance of not wading into a foreign country’s election.

Freeland also issued tweets congratulating Biden and Harris.

“As your friend, neighbour, and closest ally, Canada will work shoulder to shoulder with you as together we confront the greatest challenges of our time, at home and abroad,” Freeland said, adding a “very personal congratulations” to Harris.

“Your victory is an inspiration to women and girls and to people of colour across our continent. I look forward to working with you to help both our countries crush this global pandemic and to crack more glass ceilings along the way,” she said. 

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul also was quick to offer her congratulations, paying particular tribute to Harris as she becomes the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States.

“The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is an opportunity to usher in a new chapter in the vital U.S.-Canada relationship,” Paul said, citing the prospect for enhanced climate commitments as one example, as well as calling for reforms to the Safe Third Country Agreement.

“The results of this election are also an opportunity to renew a shared commitment to the rule of law and human rights,” Paul said.

Taking to social media with their congratulations, both Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh congratulated Biden and Harris on their win.

“Canada and the U.S. have a historic alliance. Canada’s Conservatives will always work with the U.S. to advance our common values and close economic ties,” said O’Toole. 

Singh congratulated Biden and Harris in separate posts, saying that: “As the Trump Presidency comes to an end I'm reminded of Jack's final words ‘Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.’” 

“You've sparked the imagination for generations of young women to come,” Singh said of Harris. 

Reflecting on how the results indicate deep divisions among our neighbours to the south earlier this week, Singh said that while he was “initially troubled” by the strong showing for Trump after the last four years of nearly daily headline-grabbing behaviours, decisions, and comments from the president, he’s now seeing why there wasn’t a “clear rebuke” of Trump and thinks it’s political opportunity to offer those kinds of voters a different way.

“If we can help people out in a real way we can tackle the cynicism,” he said.

In terms of what he sees Biden’s presidency meaning for Canada, Singh has said he is hopeful that the situation with COVID-19 in the United States is brought under control.

“I think there seems to be a more rational and thoughtful approach that Joe Biden's team has taken to various issues, so I expect that that would hopefully also include a relationship with Canada,” Singh said.  

These quick moves to congratulate and tout the close cross-border relations comes after four days of Canadian political figures holding their tongues about the nail-biter of a race until the outstanding surge of advance and mail-in votes were counted.

Other than promises to work to uphold Canadian interests, assuring that game plans were made for all potential scenarios including civil unrest in the U.S., and remarks about how thankful some MPs are for Elections Canada and our standardized domestic voting processes, most federal leaders waited to see how the results would unfold.


The Trump administration has challenged the Trudeau Liberals at times over the last four years, with his 2016 win taking many by surprise and forcing Trudeau to reconfigure some key federal cabinet roles, including seeing Freeland take on the Canada-U.S. file. Since then, the Canada-U.S. relationship has had its rocky moments, with personal and policy conflicts erupting periodically between the leaders of the two countries.

It’s largely expected that Trudeau and the Liberals will have an easier go at cross-border collaboration under a more ideologically-aligned Biden-led administration, as the final year of former president Barack Obama’s term generated headlines about the duo’s “bromance,” which since has apparently carried on, with Obama offering a key endorsement of Trudeau during the 2019 federal election.

“Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship – one that is unique on the world stage. Our shared geography, common interests, deep personal connections, and strong economic ties make us close friends, partners, and allies,” Trudeau said in his Saturday statement congratulating the incoming U.S. administration.

“We will further build on this foundation as we continue to keep our people safe and healthy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and work to advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action around the world,” he said.

Biden campaigned on being a president for both Democrats and Republicans, pledging that: “There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America.” That is a similar message to Trudeau’s on election night in 2019 when voters in this country handed him a minority government.

“Regardless of how you cast your ballot, ours is a team that will fight for all Canadians,” Trudeau said on Oct. 21, 2019, in reference to the increase in western alienation and support shown for Conservatives during the campaign. “I have heard your frustration and I want to be there to support you. Let us all work hard to bring our country together." 

Looking at Biden’s platform, a promise to aim for national unity is just one of the shared goals he and Trudeau have for their countries. While it remains to be seen how effective either Trudeau or Biden will ultimately be, both have promised to tackle the opioid crisis, lift the “discriminatory” blood donation ban for some members of the LGBTQ community, address government accountability, end gun violence, strengthen the “nation-to-nation” relationship with Indigenous communities, and take on systemic racism.

Canadian political observers will also remember the “vive le Canada” that former vice president Biden exclaimed during a dinner held by Trudeau during his December 2016 visit to Ottawa in advance of Trump’s inauguration. During his term, Trump did not once make a state visit to Canada, other than to attend the infamous 2017 G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Que. where after a short stay, Trump tweeted that Trudeau was “very dishonest and weak.”


With the new year bringing in a new administration—Trump will remain in office until Biden’s January inauguration—it’s possible that Trudeau’s inner circle will trot out a new strategy to the Canada-U.S. relationship, or try to find a new tact with the Democrats than the cautious approach seen with Trump.

From his perspective, former prime minister Brian Mulroney has publicly advised that Trudeau quickly plan to head down to Washington, D.C. for some face time with the winner, despite the ongoing 14-day quarantine requirement for Canadians who cross back into Canada from the U.S.

“It is so important for whomever emerges, that the prime minister get down there for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner, for informal meetings with the president to advance the Canadian agenda. I’ll bet you a dollar to a doughnut that without the president on-side, major issues for Canada are not going to be resolved,” Mulroney said in an interview on CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday.

Former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer has also said, in an election night interview on CTV’s Power Play, that it will be “really important” that the other political leaders support how Trudeau deals with the next president.