Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Trudeau Succeeds in Putting Canada on Washington's Radar

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Trudeau Succeeds in Putting Canada on Washington's Radar

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Trudeau succeeds in putting Canada on Washington's radar

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published March 10:

It was the BFF summit. And if the agenda was policy-lite, President Barack Obama's welcome to the White House for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was heavy on goodwill, spiced with a bit of good-natured ribbing.

Canada/U.S. relations needed a sunny spring reboot after a season of frost under Stephen Harper, and this first official visit by a Canadian leader in nearly two decades was it.

After graciously declaring that Americans "treasure our alliance and our ties," Obama even ventured a greeting in French -- Bienvenue, mes amis -- to underscore the welcome. But not before he poked a little fun at Canada's rivalry with the U.S. in hockey and suds, pointing out that his Chicago Blackhawks took the Stanley Cup last year and referencing our different taste in beers. Scripted as it was, this ranks as one of the most memorably friendly official greetings yet.

After retorting that the Blackhawks are awash with Canadian talent, Trudeau made good use of the celebrity photo op to remind his hosts that "Canada and the U.S. share the same values, the same origins and the same space," and stressed that "there's no relationship in the entire world like the Canada/U.S. relationship."

The rhetoric may have been shopworn. But the point was worth making. The U.S. is developing bigger trading partners as the Chinese and Mexican economies thrive, but no other country is so close an ally, partner and friend.

That bears repeating from time to time, especially during an American presidential transition year when Canadian interests rate hardly an afterthought in Washington.

Ominously for Canada, both Republican front-runner Donald Trump and the Democrats' Bernie Sanders oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and other trade deals, as resentment toward the economic disruption caused by freer trade surges in both parties. We could easily find ourselves side-swiped if American lawmakers lash out.

Moreover, 15 years after the 9/11 attacks Americans are still obsessed with terrorism and secure borders. That has led to a thickening of the Canada/U. …

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