In call with Biden, Trudeau talks trade, border ‘collaboration’ and Olympic soccer

In call with Biden, Trudeau talks trade, border 'collaboration' and Olympic soccer

WASHINGTON — It sounds like Justin Trudeau had the chance to needle his U.S. counterpart about Canada’s semifinal soccer win at the Tokyo Olympics.

A readout from the Prime Minister’s office says Trudeau spoke today with President Joe Biden — and that Canada’s victory over the United States came up in the conversation.

The two discussed weightier matters as well, including “close collaboration” at the Canada-U.S. border.

Canada has decided to begin allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents next week, but the White House has not reciprocated.

Trudeau also made the case for Canada as Biden continues to talk tough about ensuring U.S. infrastructure spending prioritizes American firms and suppliers.

Congress is closing in on passing Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure plan, which lays out US$1 trillion in spending on upgrading roads, bridges, water systems and high-speed internet access.

“The prime minister highlighted the significant alignment between labour and environmental standards in both countries,” the PMO readout said, “and the benefits to each country of open government procurement.”

Trudeau also raised Line 5, the Canadian-owned and operated cross-border pipeline that Michigan wants shut down for fear of an environmental disaster in the Great Lakes.

He “reiterated Canada’s support for a negotiated settlement” in the dispute between the state and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., and the pair “agreed to continue to monitor developments closely.”

The two sides have a meeting with the court-appointed mediator Aug. 11 and talks are expected to wrap up by the end of the month.

Trudeau and Biden also discussed a collective response to the wildfires currently ravaging the western half of the continent.

“Canada and the U.S. will work together to further strengthen bilateral co-operation on wildfires,” the readout said, “including by developing proposals to increase and share firefighting resources.”

Firefighters from B.C. and Alberta were among those who helped battle the flames last year as West Coast states like California and Oregon battled some of the worst fire disasters in recent history.

The leaders also called for the “immediate release” of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadian citizens detained in China since December 2018 in the immediate fallout from the detention of Meng Wanzhou.

The financial head of Chinese tech giant Huawei was detained by Canada at the behest of the U.S., where she is wanted on allegations of trying to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Monday’s readout does not linger on the subject of the soccer game, which Canada claimed 1-0 to advance to the gold-medal final in Tokyo.

But the conversation does come after Canada sent a collection of smoked-meat sandwiches to the White House — Biden’s reward for the Tampa Bay Lightning defeating the Montreal Canadiens in last month’s Stanley Cup final.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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