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

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to Stoney and Minnie lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

(Submitted photo)
The deadly divide

To the Editor, Years of progress in eliminating poverty around the world… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read