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

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

(Black Press file photo)
Charges laid against two suspects in pre-Christmas home invasion

An 88-year-old woman was hospitalized after being bear-sprayed in the face Dec. 18, 2020

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Junction of Highways 16 and 37 Sunday morning. (Drive BC traffic cam image)
Drive BC reports hazardous road conditions throughout northwest

Advisories include road closure of Hwy 37 for high avalanche risk near Bob Quinn

Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack mine, 65 km north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Brucejack Mine, 65 kilometres north of Stewart on Feb. 11, 2021. (Pretivm Photo)
Northern Health reports 20 more COVID-19 cases in outbreak at Brucejack Mine

So far, 42 people have tested positive, nine cases are active and self-isolating onsite

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix wore pink shirts to showcase this year’s motto: “Lift each other up.” (Twitter/PinkShirtDay)
PHOTOS: B.C. celebs take a stand against bullying on Pink Shirt Day

‘We need to let young people know they are not alone and they can reach out to others for help’

Average response times for critical “purple” and “red” calls were between nine and 10 minutes Feb. 19 in Metro Vancouver, with only less critical “yellow” calls receiving an average response time of 45 minutes. The longer than usual delay was due to a combination of factors, BC Emergency Health Services said. (APBC image)
After a night of one-hour waits for ambulances, union goes public with concerns

B.C. Ambulance Service says high-priority calls were still 10 minutes or less

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Contributed to Kamloops This Week)
B.C. teen in turtleneck, lace-edged dress sent home from school for ‘inappropriate’ outfit

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson was told the lace on the garment made it look like a slip dress

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace’s 1st Indigenous councillor resigns citing ‘systemic and internalized racism,’ sexism

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

Wade Dyck with Luna, a dog who went missing near the Chasm for 17 days following a rollover on Feb. 5. (Photo submitted).
Dog missing for 17 days through cold snap reunited with owner in northern B.C.

Family ecstatic to have the Pyrenees-Shepherd cross back home.

Most Read