Vice President Kamala Harris ceremonially swears-in Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, Wednesday Jan. 27, 2021, in her ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Vice President Kamala Harris ceremonially swears-in Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, Wednesday Jan. 27, 2021, in her ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Trudeau, U.S. vice-president Kamala Harris talk COVID-19, Buy American and Montreal

The two also discussed diversity, mental health, and the need to address online hate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke by phone today with U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris, her first call with a foreign leader since taking office.

The Prime Minister’s Office says the two discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada-U. S. relations and Harris’s time as a high schooler in Montreal.

They also discussed what a PMO readout of the call describes as “avoiding the unintended consequences” of President Joe Biden’s protectionist Buy American policies.

Those policies have Canadian manufacturers and suppliers worried that they will be frozen out of bidding on U.S. procurement contracts.

A White House version of the call describes Canada’s “deep importance to the U.S. as an economic and strategic partner.”

The PMO language hints at what will be Ottawa’s main argument for an exemption from the rules: that Canada is not the intended target of the measures.

Today’s readout makes no explicit mention of another irritant: Biden’s Day 1 decision to cancel the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline expansion.

Instead, it’s all about shared priorities, “including fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through close collaboration on borders and access to vaccines, and to building back better,” the statement said, borrowing a favourite Biden-Harris campaign slogan.

Trudeau “also looked forward to strengthening the bilateral trading relationship and Canada-U. S. supply chains, and avoiding the unintended consequences of Buy America policies, for the benefit of people in both countries.”

The only reference to Keystone XL was an oblique reference to “strengthening North American energy security.”

READ MORE: Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Other topics included a shared bilateral respect for democratic principles, the rule of law and justice, and a collective need to “increase trust in government.”

The U.S. is a country divided, still reeling from the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill that followed former president Donald Trump’s campaign to undermine last year’s presidential election.

The two also discussed diversity, mental health, and the need to address online hate, gun trafficking and gender-based violence, the PMO statement said.

Trudeau also thanked Harris for the U.S. supporting efforts to secure the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadian citizens who have been languishing in custody in China for more than two years.

“The vice-president also expressed strong solidarity with Canada regarding the issue of two Canadian citizens unjustly detained by China, and she made clear that the United States would continue to do everything it can to secure their release,” the White House said.

The Canadian statement also made reference to an upcoming “bilateral meeting” between Trudeau and Biden, which the two leaders agreed to last month. Details, including timing and whether the meeting might take place in person, have not been released.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Justin TrudeauUSA

Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Premier Jason Kenney says the provincial government is doing everything it can to encourage Albertans to get vaccinated. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Travel prizes added to Alberta’s vaccine lottery

More than 40 travel rewards available for those who are fully vaccinated

Three calves were recently shot dead in Lacombe County near Mirror. (Photo from Facebook)
Calves shot and left for dead in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP investigating three shootings

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

Most Read