OTTAWA — President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. election was clearly established over the weekend, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.
Asked during a news conference about U.S. President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede, Trudeau said he has faith in the American electoral process. “It’s important to remind people of the strength of American democratic systems and the institutions designed to evaluate and analyze election results,” he said. “We have confidence in the processes that have operated in the United States, and will continue to demonstrate that.”
Trudeau said he’s looking forward to working with Biden, and that vice president-elect Kamala Harris’ victory is “a reminder that everyone’s voice belongs in politics.” But he said he will continue to work with the Trump administration until Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20. “We’ve demonstrated an ability to stand up and defend Canadian interests throughout, which we will do as we move forward,” he said.
Trudeau pointed out that Biden will be the third U.S. president during his tenure as Canadian prime minister, and said he will work with any U.S. administration. “That’s what Canadians expect of me.”
Canada-China relations: Trudeau was also asked about the case of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have now been held in China for 700 days in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition request.
The prime minister said he will continue to work with all of Canada’s allies on the case, including the Biden administration. He said he’s confident Biden will help Canada to impress on China that the “arbitrary detention of two Canadians” isn’t working in China’s favor.
Common interests: The Liberal government seems to be looking forward to a more stable relationship with the country’s largest trading partner, after four years of an unpredictable Trump administration. Over the weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne told CTV News that Biden’s election is “good news” for Canada, referring specifically to his commitments on climate change and the Covid-19 response.
On Monday, Trudeau said it’s a “welcome sign that the new president-elect has indicated that climate change is a top priority.”
Trade uncertainty: But the Canada-U.S. relationship will not be all smooth sailing after Jan. 20. Biden has promised a protectionist Buy American agenda that may continue to complicate the trade file. Still, Trudeau said Canada was able to work with the U.S. over four years of a protectionist Trump administration, including throughout the renegotiation of the USMCA. He said Canada will continue to make the case that free trade is good for both countries, and that imposing trade barriers “not only hurts Canada but also hurts workers and companies in the United States.”
“It’s always better for us to have free-flowing goods and opportunities on both sides of the border,” he said.
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