OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed the common ground Canada and the United States share ahead of his first phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden later on Friday, adding that it was the start of a “new era” for the two countries.
Trudeau, who has been keen to embrace the new president and turn the page on the often tumultuous Donald Trump years, is going to be the first foreign leader to speak with Biden since Wednesday’s inauguration.
“We are ready to work shoulder to shoulder (with the United States) to defeat COVID-19 and rebuild economies that benefit everyone,” Trudeau told reporters.
“There will certainly be challenges… We are now beginning a new era of Canada-U.S. friendship and work,” he said.
Biden’s scrapping of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the United States on his first day in office on Wednesday threatened to derail Trudeau’s efforts.
Pipeline builder TC Energy Corp said it would eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs in coming weeks due to the cancellation. On Friday, Trudeau said he would speak to Biden about his concerns on the job losses.
“I will express my concern for jobs and livelihoods in Canada, particularly in the west, directly in my conversation with President Biden,” Trudeau said.
But Trudeau also listed a number of areas in which the two countries can see better cooperation, including on creating new jobs, fighting climate change, and defeating COVID-19.
“We are much more aligned on values, on focus, on work that needs to be done to give opportunities for everyone while we build a better future,” Trudeau said. (Reporting by Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren Editing by Gareth Jones)