In response, no doubt, to this story, the PMO pushed out this announcement, notably light on details, a couple of minutes ago:
Obama Visit to CanadaWe have been in close contact with President-elect Obama’s transition team. We can confirm that the President-elect has accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation to visit Canada soon after he is inaugurated. This will be President Obama’s first foreign visit.
I don’t think it matters overly whether the U.S. president visits Canada first, second or fourth; the relationship between the two countries is unique and can be affected only at the margin by personal relations between the two heads of government. Good relations are welcome and frosty relations are manageable. But given the truly mind-boggling amount of neurosis that surrounded the chronicling of relations between Chrétien and Bush after 9/11 — Tom Axworthy was on high alert for years afterward, and the relevant chapters in Jennifer Welsh’s book now read as poignant period literature, like something out of Edith Wharton — it’s only fair to provide you with this latest breathless update.