Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
Ben Franklin Room
SECRETARY BLINKEN: And our colleagues are here.
FOREIGN MINISTER GARNEAU: Well, thank you very much, Tony. Great to see you again after our very productive meeting on Tuesday. I really welcome the commitments that Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden made on the roadmap, which, in fact, mirrors many of the themes that you raised in your own confirmation hearings to renew U.S. leadership and diplomacy.
This is a particularly important time as we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Canadians and Americans have been impacted by this pandemic and have suffered losses and faced many challenges in this crisis. I think you’ll agree with me now is not the time for our two nations to turn inward.
It’s important that we work together to fight COVID-19, support our citizens, and ensure that a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery can happen. It’s also important that we maintain the integrity of our cross-border supply chains. This is where the rubber hits the road – or, if I could say, the rubber hits the roadmap. (Laughter.) The Canada-U.S. trade relationship is balanced, fair, and highly complementary in many areas, including the manufacturing, technological, agri-food, and energy sectors, just to name a few.
We have a lot of work ahead of us, and the roadmap, I think, charts a course for Canada and the United States to partner and to tackle many challenges, including the ones that we’re going to discuss today. I note the emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the roadmap as well as your announcement earlier this week creating a new chief diversity and inclusion officer at the State Department. We’re working on similar things as well, and I’d be very happy if our officials could exchange best practices and things we might do together.
As the United States engages, I want you to know that you can count on Canada to be by your side, and I think that you’ll find that we can be surprisingly helpful to you while advancing our own objectives.
So thank you very much and delighted to be with you today.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Marc, thank you so very much for receiving our virtual delegation in Canada. I so wish that we could be there in person, but I’m looking very much forward to the day, I think sooner rather than later, when we’ll actually be able to do that, and also to see you here in Washington.
Like you, I’m so pleased that our leaders were able to spend real quality time together a few days ago and to review and renew the U.S.-Canada partnership, particularly with regard to the roadmap, and I subscribe to everything that you said. But we have an incredibly broad and deep agenda to go through and to cover. It’s hard to think of two countries whose destines are more connected, more intertwined than ours. And we know that every single day the work that we’re doing – but more importantly, the deep ties between our people in virtually every aspect of our societies – are benefitting both countries. And this is very much the spirit in which we’re looking forward to this real renewal in our relationship.
I was, I think, telling some colleagues the other day I first started working at the State Department in 1993, and the very first trip that I made with my then boss was to Canada. So, in a sense, the first foreign trip I made working in government was to Canada, and it’s wonderful to be able to make this virtual trip today. The good news is no jet lag, the bad news is no frequent flier miles, but we’ll work on both of those things.
I know we have a lot to talk about, and you’ve alluded to virtually all of the key points. I would say one of the things that’s so important is that when we’re working together, especially on the many global challenges that confront both of our countries and both of our peoples, we are really democratic and diplomatic force multipliers for each other. And that’s something that the United States places great, great value in.
So thank you so much for welcoming us today, and let’s get down to work.
FOREIGN MINISTER GARNEAU: Thank you.