U.S. President Joe Biden will make his first visit to Canada as the country’s commander-in-chief later this month, the White House confirmed Thursday.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and address Parliament during the official visit. First Lady Jill Biden will accompany the president on his trip.
“President Biden will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the U.S.-Canada partnership and promote our shared security, shared prosperity, and shared values,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
Among the topics set to be discussed between Biden and Trudeau in Ottawa on March 23 and 24 are continued support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion, the instability in Haiti, supply chain resilience and the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic in both countries, according to the statement.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the two leaders will also discuss cooperation on climate action and the economy.
“Canada and the United States are allies, neighbours, and most importantly, friends,” Trudeau said in a statement. “I look forward to welcoming President Biden to Canada.”
Another top issue will be modernizing NORAD, the shared continental air defence network, which is back in the spotlight after the appearance of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that hovered over Canada and the U.S. last month.
That object and three others detected over North America days afterward — all of which were shot down by the U.S. — has led to new scrutiny over NORAD’s surveillance and defence capabilities, as well as its current limitations.
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Both the U.S. and Canada have committed to updating and strengthening NORAD over the coming years, as well as developing new tools to detect and defend against new threats like the surveillance balloon.
Biden last visited Canada in December 2016, when he was vice president in the Obama administration.
The last time a sitting American president was in Canada was when Donald Trump came to Quebec for the G7 Leaders’ Summit in June 2018.
Canada is normally one of the first foreign trips for a new president, but Biden’s visit has been delayed, in part due to COVID-19. Biden was elected president in late 2020.
Trudeau and Biden have spoken and met repeatedly since then, most recently during the North American Leaders’ Summit with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico City in January.
—With files from Aaron D’Andrea
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