The visit comes less than a month after Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly visited Blinken in Washington, but officials say the two will have plenty to talk about.
“You don’t need an excuse to visit a friend and neighbour,” Blinken’s deputy for the Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, told reporters Wednesday.
Blinken arrives in Ottawa on Thursday, and will join Joly and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in formal talks on support for Ukraine, human rights in Iran and North American refugee policy.
Canada could impose more sanctions upon investigation of Russia using Iranian-made drones for attacks in Ukraine: Joly
They will also touch on the updated U.S. strategies for the Arctic and Indo-Pacific, as Canada works on its own plans for those regions.
The humanitarian crisis in Haiti will likely loom large, as the U.S. and Canada try to respond to that country’s request for foreign military intervention.
Haiti’s interim government has operated in chaos since the July 2021 assassination of former president Jovenel Moise.
Since September, armed gangs have been blockading fuel access, leading to a shortage of basic goods, clean water and medical services, all during a cholera outbreak.
Canada and the U.S. have sent tanks, and the United Nations is considering a military intervention to restore order, which has been endorsed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Nichols expects a UN resolution to pass by early November, and for another country to take the lead.
“There are a number of countries that have the skills to do that, and among those countries is Canada,” he said, citing the country’s development expertise, the RCMP and “very capable Armed Forces.”
Yet the Trudeau government has been vague on the question of sending troops, just as military officials decry a personnel shortage.
Last week, Defence Minister Anita Anand noted that Canada could play a role by sending aid to the country.
“We’re being very prudent about the next steps, not just in terms of the Canadian Armed Forces, but in terms of our government writ large,” she said.
Thousands protest in Haiti against Canada, U.S. sending police and military supplies
On Wednesday, Joly did not bring up troops when asked about Haiti, instead saying Canada will eventually sanction those profiting off the chaos.
“We are not going to impose a solution on Haiti. We will work with the Haitians to find a solution by and for them,” she said in French.
Joly added in English that Washington and Ottawa want to be aligned ahead of major summits next month by the G20 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forums.
“We want to make sure that we deepen our ties with the Americans,” she said.
“It’s time to sit down (and) organize ourselves in view of these important meetings where the world will be convened.”
On Friday, Joly will also host Blinken in her hometown of Montreal to discuss trade and visit a lithium-recycling plant.
Nichols said the point is to highlight the cross-border automotive industry that thrived under NAFTA, and the importance of bringing that sector into the age of electric vehicles.
“That will build on our North American automobile supply chain,” he said. “That’s going to create good high paying jobs for the people of North America.”
This is Blinken’s first official visit to Canada since his appointment in January 2021.
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