Trudeau and Biden lay out shared commitment to fight pandemic, climate change in first post-election chat

·4 min read
Trudeau and Biden lay out shared commitment to fight pandemic, climate change in first post-election chat
Trudeau and Biden lay out shared commitment to fight pandemic, climate change in first post-election chat

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with U.S. president-elect Joe Biden today about their shared priorities, including the pandemic battle and the fight against climate change.

Trudeau said on Twitter this afternoon that he had just spoken with Biden and congratulated him on his election.

"We've worked with each other before, and we're ready to pick up on that work and tackle the challenges and opportunities facing our two countries — including climate change and COVID-19," he tweeted.

Sources with direct knowledge of the call said that while the primary focus was the pandemic, the two men also discussed the bilateral trade relationship and the Buy American policy, China and the prolonged arbitrary detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, the Keystone XL pipeline and participation in international bodies.

An official readout on the call from the PMO said Trudeau was the first international leader to speak with the president-elect.

"The prime minister and the president-elect agreed on the importance of the unique Canada-U.S. partnership and committed to work together to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic and to support a sustainable economic recovery in both countries and the hemisphere," said the readout.

"The two leaders looked forward to cooperating on the fight against climate change, on migration and on global security, and to working closely together within NATO and the G7. They also agreed on the importance of addressing anti-Black racism."

Biden's office also issued a readout of the call saying that the president-elect looks forward to working closely with Trudeau on combating the pandemic and advancing "global health security and resilience against future biological threats."

The statement said Biden wants to revitalize bilateral economic ties and the broader North American partnership, and to "deepen collaboration with Canada" to address hemispheric migration, strengthen NATO and stop climate change.

"The two leaders also discussed their shared commitment to racial and social justice," said the readout.

Earlier today, Trudeau praised the "historic milestone" marked in the United States by the election of Kamala Harris to the nation's second-highest office.

During a news conference in Ottawa, Trudeau congratulated Harris and Biden and said he looks forward to working with them to address common challenges and opportunities. He said Harris's win sends an important message.

"For so many people in Canada and around the world, seeing a woman — and a Black and South Asian-American woman — elected as the next vice-president of the United States is an inspiration and a reminder that everyone's voice belongs in politics," he said.

Biden defeated Donald Trump to become the 46th U.S. president after securing enough electoral college votes on Saturday.

His win was declared by U.S. networks after days of uncertainty as election officials counted a record-high number of mail-in ballots. Biden surpassed the necessary 270 electoral college votes with a win in his home state of Pennsylvania, though Trump is contesting some states' results.

WATCH / Kamala Harris delivers first speech after being declared U.S. VP-elect:

Trudeau expresses 'confidence' in U.S. electoral system

Asked if he may have congratulated Biden too soon, Trudeau said Canada can be "quite certain" of the results because of the trust placed in the U.S. officials and institutions tabulating the vote.

"We have confidence in the processes that have operated in the United States," he said.

Trudeau said he will continue to work with the current Trump administration until Jan. 20, when Biden is sworn in.

Asked about Trump's refusal to concede defeat, Trudeau said his focus is on defending Canadian interests.

WATCH / Women react to Harris's historic win:

Other Canadian political leaders also offered congratulations to Biden and Harris on their victory.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted that Harris "made history" as the first woman and first woman of colour to be elected VP.

"More importantly, you've sparked the imagination for generations of young women to come," he said.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul issued a statement saluting Harris "as she becomes the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States."

Paul issued another statement today pushing for collaborative action to protect the rights of asylum seekers and tackle climate change.

"In the fight against the climate emergency, Canada should always be seeking to punch above its weight and show leadership in international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions," she said.

Paul urged the leaders of both countries to adopt a carbon tariff scheme on imports from countries with weak environmental records. She also called for a reopening of the Safe Third Country Agreement, which requires asylum seekers to make their asylum claims in the first "safe" country in which they land.