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Bidens show affection towards Canada’s liberal PM, wife

By Christopher Kirkman
|
March 25, 2023

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden started their Canadian trip with hugs and kisses with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.

Biden kissed Gregoire Trudeau on the cheek while Trudeau did the same for the first lady ahead of a dessert and discussion time at the prime minister's home.

The issues

Among the many issues that will likely be under discussion is the surge in illegal migrant crossings from Mexican nationals flying to Canada and entering the U.S. from the northern border.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answered questions concerning the illegal immigration issue during a press gaggle on the way to Ottawa, Canada, while aboard Air Force One.

"So — so although we have seen an increase of encounters on the northern border, as you guys have been reporting, the numbers coming from the south into the United States from Canada remain very modest. A few hundred a month is that — what we’re seeing currently. That’s what the data shows," the press secretary said.

"So, again, we’re seeing an increase in irregular migration going north into Canada, which reflects the regional and global migration challenge, as we have been talking about," she continued.

"We’re committed to working with them to address it, including by prioritizing orderly and safe migration through regular pathways. So we continue to enforce our immigration laws and remote — and remove these without a legal basis to remain in the U.S., and DHS continues to efficiently process these individuals," she added.

Ukraine too

Biden and Trudeau are also expected to discuss defense spending related to Ukraine, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

“The President will underscore how the U.S.-Canada partnership benefits not only our two countries but the entire world, and that by working together, we can address some of the biggest challenges we face,” John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said Wednesday.

Haiti on the agenda

The two national leaders are also expected to discuss Haiti. The nation's gang issues have led to growing unrest in the island nation.

Trudeau has expressed concerns about sending peacekeeping forces or military personnel, with the U.S. expected to encourage Canada to do something to help.

The two leaders may push off the issue to the U.N. for a peacekeeping force rather than sending help directly, though both nations have focused efforts on humanitarian assistance.

The latest meeting may be between the leaders of U.S. and Canada but will likely focus much attention on issues beyond their borders.

Between immigration, war and concerns with China, Biden and Trudeau will have plenty to discuss once they get beyond their warm greetings.