Prime min­is­ter will meet U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in first of­fi­cial visit Mon­day

Cana­dian prime min­is­ter must walk a fine line in push­ing his own agenda with U.S. leader

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - ALEXANDER PANETTA

WASHINGTON — United Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will re­ceive Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau at the White House on Mon­day — their first of­fi­cial meet­ing af­ter weeks of backand-forth about set­ting a tan­gi­ble agenda beyond pleas­antries and first-en­counter photo ops.

Sev­eral peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the plan­ning said un­cer­tainty about the date lin­gered for a rea­son: the Cana­dian side wanted spe­cific re­sults, while the Amer­i­can ad­min­is­tra­tion is still busy get­ting its cab­i­net con­firmed.

The sched­ul­ing drama was fur­ther fu­elled by a spec­tac­u­lar pub­lic rift be­tween Trump and the pres­i­dent of Mex­ico last month, scrub­bing plans for a po­ten­tial tri­lat­eral meet­ing of the con­ti­nent’s Three Ami­gos.

The White House an­nounced the en­counter at its daily brief­ing.

“The pres­i­dent looks for­ward to a con­struc­tive con­ver­sa­tion in strength­en­ing the deep re­la­tion­ship that ex­ists be­tween the United States and Canada,” said spokesper­son Sean Spicer.

The coun­tries dis­cussed var­i­ous plans for a first en­counter. The Cana­dian side con­sid­ered dif­fer­ent des­ti­na­tions that would al­low it to leave a pos­i­tive first im­pres­sion of trade with Canada, while avoid­ing the blast ra­dius of the Man­hat­tan­ite’s project of re­duc­ing im­ports.

Dur­ing a visit to the Arc­tic, Trudeau was asked Thurs­day about whether he planned to broach some of Trump’s more con­tro­ver­sial poli­cies, such as the now-in­fa­mous travel ban.

His an­swer nicely il­lus­trated the fine line Canada must now walk as he de­scribed what he con­sid­ers his two pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“The first is, of course, to high­light Cana­dian val­ues and prin­ci­ples and the things that we know make our coun­try strong ... we have a set of so­lu­tions that work very well, not just for our com­mu­nity and our coun­try, but in­deed our world,” he said.

“The sec­ond re­spon­si­bil­ity I have, which we will very much be en­gaged in, is cre­at­ing jobs and op­por­tu­nity for Cana­dian cit­i­zens through the con­tin­ued close in­te­gra­tion on both sides of the bor­der ...

“I will con­tinue to dis­cuss on a broad range of is­sues with the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent.”

That bor­der was one pos­si­ble meet­ing venue that had been un­der con­sid­er­a­tion — the idea was raised in a De­cem­ber in­ter­view by Canada’s U.S. am­bas­sador David MacNaughton. The new ad­min­is­tra­tion wants a mas­sive con­struc­tion-jobs pro­gram, and there are sev­eral big projects un­der­way along the bor­der.

An­other early idea con­sid­ered was a U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity — the goal be­ing to em­pha­size the nine mil­lion Amer­i­can jobs tied to trade with Canada.

The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment is work­ing to drill that fig­ure into the mem­ory of ev­ery Amer­i­can it meets. Dif­fer­ent cab­i­net min­is­ters were in Washington this week, recit­ing that statis­tic with metro­nomic reg­u­lar­ity.

SEAN KILPATRICK, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau

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