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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lead donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at the Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Beautiful flowers spring up on Thetis Island during February. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)
Weather conditions cover the full spectrum in February

The only thing missing from the region was a more summerlike feel

Police are investigating after a man was killed at a home on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police investigating early-morning murder in Duncan

One arrested after man killed at Cowichan Lake Road home

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. teacher transferred then suspended after students report feeling ‘scared, nervous’

Authorities found that teacher did not create inviting, respectful environment for students

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Most Read