We’re tracking the Trudeaus as they move around Washington, D.C.—from their morning arrival at the White House to a state dinner this evening. You’ll find updates from the Canadian Press and Associated Press, as well as our own Paul Wells.
8:30 a.m. ET
Hundreds of people gathered Thursday on the lawn of the White House in anticipation of Justin Trudeau’s arrival, making for a scene unlike any that has greeted a Canadian prime minister in recent political memory.
The crowd basked in unseasonable warmth under crystal-clear blue skies while a military brass band set the mood on the lawn facing the National Mall. The building, an icon of presidential power, was decked out in Canadian and U.S. flags up to the balconies of the famous columns of the portico.
Many in the crowd were Canadian expats — some of whom marveled at the rarity of hearing Americans ask them about their prime minister back home.
— The Associated Press
9:15 a.m. ET
U.S. President Barack Obama says Canada and the United States are blessed to be neighbours, allies and the closest of friends — even if they may disagree from time to time about things like beer and hockey.
A relaxed-looking Obama welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, to the White House with some friendly gibes about two of the northern nation’s favourite subjects.
“You can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your neighbours,” Obama said. “The United States and Canada are blessed to be neighbours … we are steadfast allies and the closest of friends.”
Obama referenced an official visit by Trudeau’s prime-minister father Pierre a generation ago, and said Americans don’t always express their appreciation for their Canadian allies.
Canadians, he said, can be “reserved” and “easy-going,” while Americans are often “a little louder, more boisterous.” And they often don’t agree about who makes the best beer or has the better hockey skills, citing his hometown Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks as evidence.
Oh oh the beer and ice hockey jokes are underway.
— Paul Wells (@InklessPW) March 10, 2016
For good measure, Obama threw in a few Canadianisms, opening his remarks with ‘“Bonjour” and joking at one point that it’s been nearly 20 years since a Canadian prime minister was welcomed with a state dinner: “It’s about time, eh?”
The welcome included a military band, a fife-and-drum contingent in Revolutionary War garb and an honour guard.
— Alexander Panetta, CP
Trudeau and Obama entered the Oval Office of the White House for a brief photo op before starting their formal talks.
The two sat in front of the fireplace, across the room from a desk once used by John F. Kennedy.
They were accompanied by some of their officials, including Canada’s Foreign Minister Stephane Dion and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, and American Secretary of State John Kerry.
Obama says he will address Parliament during an upcoming visit to Canada that will coincide with a North American summit meeting later this year.
The visit will be part of a so-called Three Amigos summit meeting to take place in June between Trudeau, Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
During a meeting, Trudeau and Obama discussed plans for deals to co-operate on climate change, the Arctic and the shared Canada-U.S. border.
They have agreed to new steps to curb methane gas emissions; co-ordinate with Aboriginal peoples in Arctic development; and support cleaner energy.
— The Associated Press
Environmental groups are applauding a promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas industry. Trudeau committed to reduce methane emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025 in a joint statement with U.S. President Barack Obama today. The Pembina Institute says the announcement demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to co-ordinate action on environmental goals.
— The Canadian Press
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and Canada will proceed with full implementation of long-planned systems to track border entry and exit information from travellers. The measures — almost two years behind schedule —are intended to help stem the flow of foreign fighters to conflicts in the Middle East. During a news conference at the White House, Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced plans to share more no-fly list information and to move ahead with planned customs pre-clearance initiatives.
— The Canadian Press
The Trudeaus arrived for a State Department luncheon hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry, who was effusive in his praise for the Canadian prime minister.
“He has a favourability rating that is equal to that of Wayne Gretzky and Rachel McAdams, and well ahead of Justin Bieber,” Kerry said. “It is very, very clear he has a lot of fans here in the United States.”
7:15 p.m. ET
The Trudeaus are greeted by the Obamas at a lavish state dinner at the White House in Trudeau’s honour.
The glitzy affair includes a broad range of people from politics, business and show biz.
The show biz names include actors Michael J Fox and Ryan Reynolds and Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels.
9 p.m. ET
U.S. President Barack Obama came well armed with one liners at a state dinner at the White House for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Obama gave a witty toast to Trudeau, joking that his guests shouldn’t have too much fun because the prime minister used to work as a bouncer.
Obama also took the opportunity to take a couple more digs at Donald Trump.
He joked about Canadians resisting the temptation to build a wall to keep out their southern neighbours, a reference to the billionaire’s proposal to build a barrier on the US-Mexican border to curb illegal immigration.
He also joked about a Canadian website that invited Americans to move to Cape Breton if Trump becomes president.
Obama finished with a toast to Canada and its “great alliance” with the U.S.
More on Trudeau in Washington
- Photo gallery: Hadrien goes to Washington
- Photo gallery: The scene on the White House lawn
- Transcript: How Obama welcomed Trudeau to the White House. (Cue hockey joke.)
- What the Trudeaus gave the Obamas