Joe Biden’s visit to Canada ‘authentic’: ambassador

Washington –

Federal liberals aren’t the only ones declaring US President Joe Biden’s visit to Ottawa a victory for Canada-US relations.

Biden said he wanted on several issues, including a clear timeline for key aspects of NORAD’s upgrade, progress on key minerals, and signs that the two countries are working together more than ever on China. You got what you paid for, said US Ambassador David Cohen.

Regarding Norad, “the lingering issue in the ongoing debate was not the point of contention, but the timing of some of the commitments and what some of the commitments … meant in dollars,” Cohen said.

These commitments include $7 billion, including the first of a New Horizons radar system within the next five years, with other upgrades to be completed in time for Canada to welcome its new F-35 fighter jets. Includes plans for

“For the first time, their (on-radar upgrades) first operational date is clearly dated, which is 2028, which is the year Norad was looking for.”

Canada also pledged other Norad improvements, including a $7.3 billion renovation of the system’s northern forward operating site, to ensure the fleet of new jets is ready for full operation by 2034. .

Conversations about Norad have been going on for years, but they were likely helped last month by what turned out to be a Chinese surveillance balloon drifting in North American airspace, Cohen said.

“I think this encounter put everyone in Canada, the United States, and frankly, probably the rest of the world, focused on China’s aggression, especially in the Arctic,” he said.

“I think the balloon gave the public a sense of urgency and reinforced the need for both Canada and the United States to pay special attention to continental defense.”

The two countries also outlined an ambitious vision on Friday for robust and reliable supply chains of critical minerals that are essential ingredients in the manufacture of electric vehicles, semiconductors and modern weapons.

But at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Biden frowned, as he suggested Canada has no ambitions for significant mineral wealth beyond mining and exporting. Looked.

“We don’t have minerals to mine. We can mine,” Biden said. “You don’t want to turn them into products. We do.”

Cohen shrugged it off, pointing to it as a cumbersome effort to explain how the respective strengths of the two economies promise to go hand-in-hand.

“I think what he was trying to say was that there are so many complementary strengths and opportunities in the important mineral space between Canada and the United States,” he said.

“Canada has important minerals that the United States does not have.As a result, Canada’s participation in the supply and value chains of critical minerals is natural.”

As proof, Cohen announced a deal with IBM to expand its semiconductor assembly and test facility in Bromont, Quebec, by creating a corridor between Canada and upstate New York involving “every element” of the semiconductor supply chain. He pointed to the agreement announced on Friday.

One of the most immediate effects of Mr. Biden’s visit was that, as a result of the “supplement” to the 2004 immigration treaty between the two countries, the Canadian-U.S. border was opened overnight to asylum seekers heading north. that it was closed.

Media reports over the weekend described a mad scramble for immigrants to enter Canada via the busy unofficial crossroads of Wroxham Road before the midnight deadline on Friday night, and many more hours after the new agreement took effect. of asylum seekers were denied.

This is part of a broader US vision aimed at addressing the larger problem of illegal immigration across the continent and around the world, Cohen said.

“The work we’ve done on our southern border has already had a dramatic impact over the past few months, and we expect to see a similar impact on our northern border,” he said.

“But this is a very difficult problem. It’s not as simple as a policy that says ‘I will provide asylum to all who seek asylum.'”

Cohen said Friday’s visit also helped dampen U.S. perceptions that Canada is a potential weakness in efforts to present a unified foreign policy front to China, which will be released in 2021. Concerns were acknowledged at the confirmation hearing.

But these are the views of members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who conducted the hearings rather than the Biden administration, Cohen said.

“I think the trigger for the question is not a secret, but that Canada has traditionally had a friendlier relationship with China than the United States,” he said.

That all changed dramatically with the political detention in China in 2018 of Michael Kovrig and Michael Speiber, who were finally released in September 2021 and were present at Biden’s speech to Congress on Friday. It looked like it did

“Canada’s perspective on China is evolving, as is the U.S.,” Cohen said.

“Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Canada’s stated policy toward China is very similar to the United States’ expressed view of China.”

One area where Biden is likely to disappoint his visit to Ottawa is Haiti, the impoverished and leaderless Caribbean country that has devolved into gang violence since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021. bottom.

Canada has pledged $100 million in new aid to help the Haitian National Police, but has gone so far as to pledge all kinds of military intervention, claiming the country needs a homegrown solution to the crisis. I didn’t reach it.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in an interview on Sunday that the United States has not given up on the idea of ​​security forces, whether Canada is involved or not.

“The possibility of using some sort of security force in Haiti is still valuable,” Kirby said.

“Whatever the outcome, we will have to fully consult not only the United Nations, but also the Haitian government, but we have not reached that stage at the moment.”

Kirby added that the United States shares Trudeau’s concerns about the state of the Haitian police force and will continue to do all it can to strengthen its capacity.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on March 26, 2023.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button