Trudeau expressed disappointment at Biden’s decision to cancel Keystone XL’s cross-border license, officials said, adding that Biden had acknowledged it was a blow to Canada, but stressed it was his campaign engagement.
Earlier on Friday, Trudeau said he intended to speak to Biden about the effect of the Keystone moves on Canadian jobs. But he indicated he would not fight Biden on the issue, noting that Canadians and the new administration are “much more values-aligned” than the previous one. He and other federal officials have said they “respect” Biden’s decision.
“It won’t always be a perfect alignment with the United States,” Trudeau said Friday morning. “This is the case with any president.”
Yet leaders in reluctant oil-producing Canadian provinces say Biden’s decision on day one was an insult and are pushing Trudeau to take a tougher line. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called on Trudeau to impose trade and economic sanctions on Washington if diplomatic efforts to enter the pipeline fail, and he appeared on Fox News Friday to reiterate his fury.
“It’s very frustrating that one of the first acts of a new president was, I think, to disrespect America’s closest friend and ally – Canada,” Kenney told Fox.
Trudeau and Biden have agreed to have their offices tune in on Buy America issues so Canada is not taken by surprise, an official said. Biden is expected to unveil an executive order promoting Buy America next week.
The leaders also discussed Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians detained in China since December 2018. Their arrests are said to be in retaliation by Beijing against Canada’s arrest of Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, following a request. American extradition.
Biden said the United States “would be as helpful as it gets,” the second official said.
During the call, Biden recalled his most recent trip to Canada in December 2016 when Trudeau hosted a state dinner for then-vice president in December 2016.
“I think it’s kind of a new moment and full of new opportunities for a great relationship,” said the second manager, calling the call “really warm and collaborative.”