Monday, March 21, 2016

Trudeau's Washington Visit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office in November 2015 and carries one of the most famous names in
Canadian political history.
His late father Pierre Trudeau was prime minister for the better part of 16 years (1968-1984); he remains the rare Canadian politician who is recognized in America.
The late prime minister was
Canada’s greatest PM next to John A. Macdonald; he visited both Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. He took Canada onto the world stage, defeated separatism, and repatriated the constitution and created Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s state visit to Washington was the first in 19 years; his following of his father’s footsteps is impressive indeed.
Beyond doubt, Canada and the United States are uniquely inter-related as two sovereign countries of North America that are sharing the longest border; they are reliant on mutual trade, economic prosperity and border security.
Despite a number of differences, they stand as an example of inter-dependence and mutual co-operation for the world to follow as the best model. However, there are still some gaps needing to be bridged by the two democracies.
Trudeau’s recent visit to Washington has opened doors for improving the prevailing atmosphere of
mutual understanding for the benefit of the people on both sides of the border and for the rest of the World of course.
“Whether we’re charting a course for environmental protection, making key investments to grow our middle class, or defending the rights of oppressed peoples abroad, Canada and the US will forever collaborate in partnership and good faith.” (Justin Trudeau)
Mr. Trudeau wants to ensure the issues of contention between the U.S. and Canada are resolved amicably at the working level on a daily basis.
Since the visit was about securing Mr Obama’s goodwill to help Mr. Trudeau to advance his environmental agenda, some agreements of vital importance took place.
Outcome of the Washington meeting at a glance:
•The leaders agreed to reduce
methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 per cent
below 2012 levels by 2025 and
pursue related international commitments through the G20.
•Both countries committed to reduce the use and emissions of hydro
fluorocarbons (HFCs) and promised to “propose new actions in 2016.”
•The two countries also plan to provide increased financial
support to help developing countries reduce HFCs.
•The leaders reaffirmed a commitment to work toward a second phase of aligned greenhouse gas emission standards for on-road heavy-duty vehicles after the 2018 model year.
•The two countries agreed to use
“similar values for the social cost of carbon and other GHGs for assessing the benefits of regulatory measures.”
•Both leaders expressed a “strong commitment” to reduce
emissions from international aviation, through technological and
operational advancements, a new carbon standard for airplanes and by adopting in 2016 a “carbon offset measure that will allow for carbon-neutral growth from international civil aviation.”
•In the interests of North American energy security, the leaders pledged to integrate and advance clean energy and align energy
efficiency standards.
•They will also develop a strategy for protecting the North American electricity grid “against the growing threat from cyber-attacks and climate change impacts.”
•Trudeau and Obama announced a new partnership on the “changing Arctic,” to expand the protection of land and marine areas, “more broadly and respectfully include Indigenous science and traditional knowledge into decision making,” pursue low-impact shipping routes and adopt a “science-based” approached to oil and gas development.
•The two countries agreed in principle to expand customs pre-clearance for passengers to Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto and Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport, as well as to rail service in Montreal and Vancouver.
They will also “work to convert
existing pre-inspection sites in British Columbia to full pre-clearance” and “explore the conditions necessary for cargo pre-clearance and identify opportunities to pilot this approach.”
•The two leaders agreed to establish a “Canada-U.S. Redress Working Group” to deal with complaints about the no-fly list.
•Canada and the United States will “fully implement a system to exchange basic biographic entry information at the land border in a manner that respects our separate constitutional and legal frameworks, and protects our citizens’ right to privacy.”
•Regarding softwood lumber, the leaders were not able to announce a new agreement on the recurring trade dispute, but officials have been asked to explore options and report back within 100 days on how to address the issue. At the joint press conference after the leaders’ meeting, Obama told reporters progress had already been made and the issue would be resolved “in some fashion,” adding wryly that the eventual solution would be “undoubtedly to the dissatisfaction of all concerned.”
•The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) is a trade deal that Obama is keen to see ratified, and one that the Trudeau government has signed on to but has also committed to consulting Canadians.
•“The United States and Canada share the goal of enhancing shared prosperity, creating jobs, protecting workers and the environment, and promoting sustainable economic development.
•Recognizing that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which links together countries that represent nearly 40 percent of global GDP, would advance these objectives, Canada and the United States are working to complete their respective domestic processes.”
Trudeaumania: It was noticed that the actual substance of the meetings received less coverage as celebrity flavor of the visiting PM dominated throughout his tour.
Greatly Admired: World Bank President Jim Kim saluted his work on climate change and Syrian refugees: “We’ve been watching with admiration,’’ he said, as they sat down to meet with officials and ministers at a boardroom table.
Also, audiences repeatedly tried drawing him into discussing Donald Trump. He demurred, except to state his own views and share some stories from Canadian politics to suggest campaigning against
Muslims can backfire.
Conclusion: President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau will have to signal to officials their desire for resolution because the visit was about signaling mutual admiration and securing Mr. Obama’s goodwill to help Mr. Trudeau to advance his environmental and energy agendas abroad and at home.
With the Republican win in the coming election, there is no guarantee of the current agreements
between the two countries...

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