June 19, 2021

Joe Biden to meet Justin Trudeau of Canada after Keystone pipeline order

Joe Biden will hold his first bilateral meeting with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, on Tuesday, the White House said on Saturday.

The meeting, which will be virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, will aim to elevate collaboration on shared concerns at a time when the relationship between the close allies has been strained by Biden’s decision to block the Canada-backed Keystone XL pipeline.

In a statement, the White House said Biden and his cabinet will also meet virtually with Canadian ministers on a range of issues.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said it would be “an opportunity for the two leaders to review joint efforts in areas of mutual interest such as the Covid-19 response, climate change and the economic ties that bind our countries, as well as the deep people-to-people bonds we share.

“The president will highlight the strong and deep partnership between the United States and Canada as neighbors, friends and Nato allies,” she said.

Trudeau called the US-Canada relationship “one of the strongest and deepest friendships between any two countries” and said: “It is built on common values, strong ties between our people and a shared geography … We will work together to end the Covid-19 pandemic and support people in both our countries.”

Trudeau was the first world leader to congratulate Biden after the November election and Canada is looking forward to turning the page on the Donald Trump era, when relations between the two countries became somewhat strained.

While Biden has had at-times lengthy calls with foreign leaders, his Canada meeting will extend to lower-level meetings between cabinet ministers, as have interactions with Mexico and several European allies.

Biden revoked a permit for the Keystone pipeline, which would transport 830,000 barrels a day of carbon-intensive heavy crude from Alberta to Nebraska, on his first day in office last month, as part of a flurry of executive orders aimed at curbing climate change.

Trudeau has said Canada will seek exemptions to a US effort to ensure federal agencies buy US-produced goods. The US move could hurt Canada, given how tightly the two nations’ economies are integrated.

The two countries are in a shared standoff with China after Canada’s detention of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies on a US arrest warrant.

Beijing detained and charged two Canadians with espionage after the detention of Meng, who remains under house arrest.