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The United States is fortunate to have Canada as a neighbour, President Joe Biden said Friday as he began a meeting on Parliament Hill with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The remarks came after Mr. Biden arrived for talks with Mr. Trudeau on the second day of Mr. Biden’s first visit, as President, to Canada.

“We disagree and agree on things occasionally, but there’s no fundamental difference in the democratic values we share,” Mr. Biden said. “It really makes a big difference, and so it’s an honour to be here.”

Mr. Biden added, “We have a lot to talk about and I think we’re going to get a lot done today.”

Mr. Trudeau said it was a pleasure to welcome Mr. Biden back to Ottawa. “It’s so great to see you, Joe,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the United States and Canada have worked on such issues as building strong economies, continuing the fight against climate change and dealing with changing geopolitical security issues. “We have no greater friend or ally than the United States,” he said.

Earlier, Mr. Biden, arriving at the House of Commons, made his way down a line of senior Canadian political figures, including leaders of all parties in the Commons.

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre introduced himself to the President as leader of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. “Loyal opposition?” said Mr. Biden. “We believe that opposition is an act of loyalty in our system,” Mr. Poilievre said. The President chuckled. “We do too, unfortunately,” he said.

Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson, deputy leader of the Canadian Senators Group – a group that came together in 2019 – told President Biden, “We’re going to modernize NORAD and guard North America for you,” said Mr. Patterson. “Good,” said Mr. Biden.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May handed Mr. Biden a chocolate bar labelled “Peace,” which she later noted, in a social-media exchange, was produced by a Syrian family based in Antigonish, N.S.

That’s the Hadhad family, who left behind a chocolate factory operation in Damascus, Syria, when they fled the country in 2012. Tareq Hadhad, the CEO and founder of Peace by Chocolate, tweeted here about the gesture.

Senior political reporter Marieke Walsh and senior parliamentary reporter Steven Chase report here that a renegotiated Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, the two leaders will announce, is expected to go into effect at midnight Friday, meaning migrants crossing the border at unofficial points of entry can be turned away within hours of the Prime Minister and President announcing the deal in Ottawa.

Friday afternoon, President Biden was scheduled to speak in the House of Commons, and, subsequently hold a news conference with Mr. Trudeau. In the evening, Mr. Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau were scheduled to host a dinner at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in honour of President Biden, and Ms. Biden. Please check The Globe and Mail for updates.

Meanwhile, CBC has a photo gallery here of images from Mr. Biden’s visit.

And en route to Ottawa on Air Force One on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre briefed journalists on the President’s visit to Ottawa. There’s a White House transcript here.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you're reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


NO “ACTIONABLE EVIDENCE” IN DONG CASE: TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT – The Trudeau government determined that there was no “actionable evidence” after it received a CSIS transcript of an early 2021 conversation between Liberal MP Han Dong and China’s top diplomat in Toronto, according to a senior government source – saying conclusions could not be drawn that Mr. Dong asked Beijing to keep two Canadians in prison for political reasons. Story here.

TOEWS NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTON – Travis Toews, the current Alberta Finance Minister, announced Friday that he would not seek re-election. Story here. Meanwhile, the Alberta Legislature wrapped up its spring sitting Thursday with politicians on both sides of the aisle test driving insults and expected attack lines ahead of the scheduled May 29 provincial election. Story here.

ONTARIO UNVEILS “PRUDENT” BUDGET: FINANCE MINISTER – The Ontario government has unveiled what the province’s Finance Minister calls a “prudent” budget – one that assumes next to no economic growth this year, but still pledges to balance the books by the 2024-25 fiscal year. Story here.

OTHER PROVINCIAL BUDGETS – The Newfoundland and Labrador government painted a rosy picture of its financial future in a $9.8-billion provincial budget tabled Thursday. Story here. Repairing Nova Scotia’s faltering health care system is the centrepiece of the provincial government’s $14.4-billion budget tabled Thursday, with spending on health jumping 13 per cent over the next year alone. Story here.

THE $6,000-PER-NIGHT HOTEL SUITE – The Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, stayed in a $6,000 per night hotel suite while attending the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II. Story here.

WHITE HELMETS ARRIVE IN CANADA – Members of the White Helmets, a volunteer search-and-rescue force that has been credited with saving lives in Syria, have arrived in Canada with their families nearly five years after the federal government promised to get them out of a Jordanian refugee camp they were unable to leave. Story here.


(Includes original times for events)

11:05 a.m. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was scheduled to welcome President Joe Biden to Parliament Hill.

11:15 a.m. – The President was scheduled to attend a welcoming ceremony, with a welcoming party that included Senate Speaker George Furey, House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota, Official Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre and other party leaders.

11:20 a.m. – The President and Prime Minister held a meeting. At 11:45 a.m., the meeting was expected to expand into a larger meeting with, on the Canadian side, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, International Trade Minister Mary Ng, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, Defence Minister Anita Anand, and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.

2:00 p.m. – After remarks from Mr. Trudeau, President Biden was expected to deliver a speech in the House of Commons.

3:45 p.m. – Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Biden were to hold a joint news conference.

6:50 p.m. – The Prime Minister and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau were scheduled to host a dinner at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in honour of President Biden, and Ms. Biden.

The dinner was prepared by the National Arts Centre catering team, with Kenton Leier as chef. Here’s the menu:

-Cedar Salt and Seaweed Crusted Rare-Seared East Coast Yellowfin Tuna

-White Bean Hummus, Cucumber, Picked Radish and Bitter Greens

-Flax Seed Cracker and Lemon Parsley Emulsion

-Alberta Beef Braised Short Rib

-Butternut Squash Purée and Yukon Gold Potato Pavé

-Wildflower Honey Roasted Carrots and Fine Green Beans

-Pelée Island Cabernet Sauvignon Jus

-Wild Blueberry and Quebec Maple Mousse Cake

-Screech Rum Caramel and Sweetgrass Meringue

-Fresh Berries

9:15 p.m. – President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were scheduled to depart Ottawa for Wilmington, Del., where they will spend the weekend.

*-In a separate program, First Lady Jill Biden, accompanied by Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, visited the Rideau Curling Club for an introduction to the sport of curling, and held a discussion with youth. Ms. Biden and Ms. Trudeau also visited the National Gallery of Canada to see the special exhibition Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Movement. They were then scheduled to go to lunch at the National Gallery, and then attend the President’s speech at the House of Commons.


On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, former governor-general Michaëlle Jean, also the former UNESCO Special Envoy to Haiti, talks about what has led Haiti to its current crisis after months of cholera outbreaks, a fuel and energy crisis, and violence. The Decibel is here.


Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on three things that would make U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit a success for President Joe Biden: Justin Trudeau is up to his eyeballs in political controversy and the House of Commons has just voted in favour of a public inquiry on Chinese interference in Canadian elections that he has repeatedly resisted. If there’s one thing he needs, it is to be able to chalk up a success with U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit this week. The Conservative opposition leader, Pierre Poilievre, has called for Mr. Trudeau to get wins on a file where there will be no victory – Mr. Biden isn’t going to immediately settle the latest round of softwood lumber trade disputes. This short visit isn’t going to bring sweeping change. But there are things that matter up for discussion – and Mr. Trudeau will very much care about the outcomes.”

Dany Assaf, Walid Hejazi and Joe Manget (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit: Canada must also look beyond the U.S. and forge its own trade path: With the visit of U.S. President Joe Biden this week, it will be important for Ottawa to mark and reaffirm the bonds of our deep security and economic partnership in these uncertain times. Canada’s future always has been and always will be intertwined with that of our American friends, with whom we share geography, history and values. But at the same time, we know that the world’s leading superpower has shifting administrations and priorities, so we won’t always be at the top of their dance card.”


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Budget 2023: The Liberals need to end their hiring spree: “Under the federal Liberal government, the size of the core public service has grown, and grown, over the past eight years. At the same time, it is increasing its reliance on contractors. There is no single area with a bigger impact on spending: Personnel expenses consume half of Ottawa’s operating budget. And yet there has been little effort made to demonstrate whether this has improved program effectiveness. Canadians who have recently struggled to access federal services such as passports, Veterans Affairs supports, Indian status cards, or immigration applications could reasonably conclude services have not improved in step with the growth in employment. With the economy forecast to stagnate this year, Budget 2023 is a moment to rein in the growth of government.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on Ontario Premier Doug Ford releasing a Kathleen Wynne budget: Leafing through the Ontario government’s latest fiscal plan, the thought occurs: What distinguishes this as a conservative, or at least Conservative, or even a Doug Ford budget? How is this different from anything, say, a Kathleen Wynne government might have produced? Answer: it isn’t, except for maybe spending more than she would have.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) provides a dispatch from a once-great American city:It is easy to look at what’s happening down here and think: yes, but that’s the U.S. Everything is bigger and badder and more screwed up. But that would be a mistake. All the problems plaguing these cities are, to some degree, becoming intractable issues in Canada as well. There is a sense in Seattle, and in some of the other American cities I have been to in the last couple of years, that civic leaders didn’t appreciate the full extent of the problem they had on their hands until they were confronting a full-blown homelessness crisis. (Sure, the pandemic exacerbated problems. But they were there before it arrived.)”

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