U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden will visit Ottawa next week to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the country’s premiers to discuss the Canada-U.S. relationship before the Trump administration takes over early next year.
Mr. Biden is scheduled to visit Ottawa on Dec. 8 and 9 to meet with Mr. Trudeau and attend an official dinner in his honour, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
“I look forward to meeting with Vice-President Biden and discussing the strength of our two countries’ relationship,” Mr. Trudeau said in a statement.
“Canada has had no closer friend, partner, and ally than the U.S., and our relationship with our neighbour to the south is critical to citizens on both sides of the border.”
The outgoing vice-president will also speak with Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers “on a range of bilateral and global issues,” U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman said in a statement.
The premiers arrive in Ottawa on Dec. 9 for a first ministers’ meeting to finalize a climate-change plan. Mr. Trudeau will also meet with First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders.
The Obama administration was a key ally to the Trudeau government’s aggressive climate-change plan. President-elect Donald Trump has remained vague about his election pledge to abandon U.S. commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Accord and roll back President Barack Obama’s signature policies on climate.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Tuesday that border security and efficiency remain his priorities in the Canada-U.S. agenda.
“There’s $2.5-billion in trade that goes back and forth across that border every day. There’s 400,000 people that go back and forth across that border every day,” Mr. Goodale said.
“There are 35 American states that depend on Canada … for trade, nine million U.S. jobs. There’s lots of important material that is always actively on the agenda whenever senior officials from Canada and the U.S. meet.”
Liberal MP Wayne Easter, who chairs the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, said issues that could be brought up with Mr. Biden include trade, country of origin labelling and the softwood-lumber deal. A recent memo from Mr. Trump’s transition team suggested softwood lumber and livestock producers will be targeted by the new administration, which wants a more favourable deal for the United States in a renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement.
Mr. Easter said he hopes Mr. Biden passes along the message of economic opportunity between Canada and the United States to Mr. Trump’s administration.
“It’s important that we build that understanding with the new United States administration, and others that come to Canada that can give that message,” Mr. Easter said.
A spokeswoman for the Alberta government said Premier Rachel Notley is looking forward to Mr. Biden’s visit.
“The United States is our neighbour and largest export market and we will work with the incoming administration on Alberta’s priorities including energy, market access, trade, agriculture, and tourism,” spokeswoman Cheryl Oates said in an e-mail.Report Typo/Error