The Liverpool House Summit: What did Obama and Trudeau talk about?
A surprise dinner between the ex-president and the PM breeds speculation
It will go down in history as the Liverpool House Summit, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former U.S. president Barack Obama sat down to discuss … well, we have no idea what they discussed.
Yes <a href="https://twitter.com/BarackObama">@BarackObama</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/JustinTrudeau">@JustinTrudeau</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/LiverHouse">@LiverHouse</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/joebeef">@joebeef</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Monmontreal">@Monmontreal</a> great night! Thank u , Merci! <a href="https://t.co/Fkoe1R7aDN">pic.twitter.com/Fkoe1R7aDN</a>—@joebeef
Obama had been speaking at Palais des Congrès, a downtown convention centre, Tuesday evening. Not long after, a heavy police presence was spotted on Notre Dame Street.
A Chevy Suburban with tinted windows rolled up in front of the restaurant, a few burly men with earpieces hopped out, and then Obama appeared, offered a quick wave to the crowd, then ducked inside.
Trudeau tweeted a picture from the restaurant Tuesday night. Both he and Obama have their shirt sleeves rolled up, the ex-president striking the relaxed posture he seems to strike often these days now that he's not, you know, running the free world.
Foreign policy for dessert?
Trudeau's tweet suggests the two may have talked about youth engagement in politics.
A witness to the meeting, chef and owner David McMillan, said they spoke alone for about 30 minutes.
"It seemed lighthearted and funny," McMillan told CBC News the morning after the summit.
"It didn't seem like world affairs were being discussed."
But the timing of the meeting is conspicuous.
Earlier that day, Trudeau's foreign affairs minister, Chrystia Freeland, delivered a major foreign policy speech.
It didn't mention President Donald Trump by name, but she made it clear that Canada would be taking a decidedly different approach to world affairs.
Freeland rejected many of the U.S. president's policies, including the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, imposing protectionist trade policies, and closing the nation's doors to refugees.
The 'bro hug'
Freeland's speech echoed many of the themes that Obama raised in his own speech in Montreal.
He praised Canada's leadership on a variety of issues, including immigration and climate change.
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"It's important for us to establish processes to make sure that we reaffirm that we are nations of immigrants, that it creates dynamism in our economies, that it strengthens rather than weakens us," Obama told crowd of 6,000 at the Montreal convention centre.
"You've done a good job of that in Canada, and you should be congratulated for that."
Of course, whether Trudeau and Obama talked about any of this is pure speculation.
With files from Kathleen Harris