Politics

Joe Biden, Boris Johnson congratulate Trudeau on third election victory

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today, congratulating the re-elected Liberal leader on his party's win in Monday night's federal election.

Leaders say they are looking forward to working with Canadian PM in years ahead

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks at a television screen as he listens to United States President Joe Biden speak during a virtual joint statement after a virtual meeting in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. (The Canadian Press)

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today, congratulating the re-elected Liberal leader on his party's win in Monday night's federal election.

According to a statement sent out by the White House, the two leaders spoke about the need to work together to rebuild the economies of both countries and continue in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The President expressed to Prime Minister Trudeau his desire to continue working closely and deepening collaboration with Canada – one of our nation's top partners," the statement said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also saluted Trudeau on his third straight election victory.

"Congratulations [Justin Trudeau] on your re-election," Johnson said in a social media post today. "The U.K. and Canada are great friends and partners and I look forward to us working closely together in the years ahead."

Biden's comments were echoed by U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Arnold Chacon, who also congratulated Trudeau and the Liberal Party.

"My colleagues at the Embassy and I look forward to working closely with the re-elected government and continuing our progress on the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership," Chacon said.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky also congratulated Trudeau on his victory and said he looks forward to stronger ties between the two countries.

The Prime Minister's Office also released a statement after the call saying that Trudeau will take part in the virtual global COVID-19 summit the U.S. is hosting later this month.

The PMO statement said the two leaders discussed fighting climate change, the response to COVID-19, the management of the Canada-U.S. land border and China's arbitrary detention of Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.

Working with the U.S. on climate, security

The Liberal platform says little about relations with the United States, apart from a promise to work with the U.S. and the EU on border carbon adjustments and with Biden's administration to modernize NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defence Command.

Border carbon adjustments tax imports to account for differences in emissions pricing in other jurisdictions. The Liberal platform never explains what those adjustments would be, saying only that a re-elected Liberal government would consider applying the adjustments to imports of steel, cement and aluminum.

It's not clear how committed Trudeau and Biden are to such a border tax.

Biden's White House, meanwhile, did not throw its support behind a move by his party to impose such a border tax on goods from China and other countries when it was put forward last month. It also remains unclear how such a scheme would work between the U.S., the EU and Canada.

The EU's carbon border adjustment proposal, adopted by the European Commission in July, will apply taxes at a rate based on the EU's internal cap-and-trade system. Canada's adjustment presumably would be based on its carbon pricing scheme, while the U.S. currently does not employ either a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax. 

When it comes to modernizing NORAD and upgrading the North Warning System, the Liberal platform gives no dates or detailed plans beyond a pledge to "work with the United States" on the project.

RCAF Col. Travis Morehen speaks in the North American Aerospace Defense Command command center inside Cheyenne Mountain, Colo., May 10, 2018 The U.S. military dug tunnels into the mountain in the 1960s for the command center to protect it from nuclear attack. The facility is now a backup for the main command center at Peterson Air Force Base in nearby Colorado Springs. The North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD is a U.S.-Canada command that monitors the skies over both nations. It celebrated its 60th anniversary on May 12, 2018. (Dan Elliott/The Associated Press)

The platform says the Liberal government would work on "deploying new technological solutions to improve surveillance and monitoring, improving command and control systems, and ... further strengthen Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic, including with respect to the increasing navigation of Arctic waters."

Shortly after Biden's inauguration, he and Trudeau directed their defence and foreign secretaries to meet in a so-called "2+2 ministerial format" to further co-ordinate their joint contributions and renew the binational security and defence arrangement. Since then, the Liberals have said little about how the process is going. 

As much as $11 billion U.S. is likely at stake in the modernization effort, with 40 per cent of the cost landing on the shoulders of Canadian taxpayers.

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