Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begins US state visit


Canada’s newly-elected liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has arrived in Washington for the first state visit by a Canadian leader in nearly 20 years.

He is to make a visit to the White House later for talks with President Barack Obama.

Trade and environmental issues are expected to be high on the agenda.

The visit comes as relations between the two countries improve after being strained under Mr Trudeau’s conservative predecessor Steven Harper.

Mr Obama extended an invitation to Mr Trudeau shortly after his election in October 2015.


On Wednesday evening a reception for Mr Trudeau was held by two think-tanks in central Washington, reported to have had a long waiting list for guests.

After talks between the two men later on Thursday, a state dinner is due to be held in the evening with nods to Canada on the menu in the form of poutine, Nanaimo bars and white chocolate snowballs.

The youthful Mr Trudeau’s optimistic election platform has led many to draw comparisons with the beginning of Mr Obama’s presidency and some American liberals to draw envious comparisons with the US’s political scene.

As Donald Trump solidified his position as front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination earlier this month, there was even a spike in internet searches about how to move to Canada.

At the last meeting in November, Mr Obama gently reminded Mr Trudeau of the travails of implementing his agenda: “I just want to point out that I had no grey hair when I was in your shoes seven years ago,” he said.

US-Canada relations had previously suffered when Mr Obama’s administration opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, which was meant to transport oil from Canadian tar sands in Alberta to the US Gulf coast.

After Mr Trudeau’s election, Mr Obama said they had agreed that the issue of climate change trumped any differences of opinion over the pipeline.


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