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What Trudeau’s win means for Canada-U.S. relations

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OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau’s election win will earn him a congratulatory call from a figure largely forgotten during Canada’s election campaign: President Joe Biden.

But staying on Biden’s radar will be key for Trudeau, as he resettles into the Prime Minister’s Office.

Canada’s election Monday capped a campaign that paid very little attention to foreign policy or the country’s vital relationship with the United States. Trudeau, however, did receive two late-campaign endorsements from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The few times U.S.-Canada ties surfaced during the 36-day campaign Trudeau found himself forced to defend how well he has nurtured his connection with Biden. Since the U.S. election, the leaders have met face to face just once, during June’s G-7 summit. They have yet to hold an official, in-the-flesh bilateral visit.

A journalist challenged Trudeau during a leaders debate earlier this month on his ability to get Biden on the phone to discuss key issues like the Covid-19 restrictions at the border.

“Did Mr. Biden forget about you?” the journalist asked Trudeau during the French-language contest after she noted the two leaders had only had three official calls since Biden became president last January.

“On the contrary, we spent a whole day in discussions as soon as he arrived,” Trudeau replied during the Radio-Canada event, noting their virtual meeting in February produced a bilateral “Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership.

“It was one of his first meetings to establish precisely the course that we will take together. Relations with the United States are very good.”

The election result means Trudeau and Biden can quickly pick things back up.

Biden’s arrival and his personal connection with Trudeau have eased tensions at the top following four tumultuous years in the relationship under the Trump administration.

But Trudeau has come under fire from critics who charge that he is allowing Canada to be an afterthought for the U.S. president.

For example, the prime minister was forced to explain at a campaign stop why Canada was not part of AUKUS, the new defense and technology-sharing group comprising the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

Trudeau told reporters AUKUS was about nuclear submarines and argued that Canada, unlike Australia, is “not currently or any time soon in the market” for them. He stressed that Canada continues to be a strong member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes the AUKUS........

© Politico

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