Monday, January 12, 2009

Obama’s Visit Gives Harper Chance to Highlight Canada’s Importance as Economic Partner

(Shawn McCarthy — Globe and Mail)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will pitch his government’s proposal for a Canada-U.S. climate-change accord and urge greater economic co-operation to revive the North American economy when Barack Obama travels to Canada in his first foreign trip as U.S. president.

Mr. Obama is expected to address Parliament when he visits Ottawa. The high-profile visit of the new president - who is enormously popular among Canadians and throughout the world - will give Mr. Harper an opportunity to highlight Canada’s importance to the United States as both a strategic and economic partner at the outset of Mr. Obama’s term in office.

It will also allow the Democratic president to convey the message that the U.S. is prepared to work more effectively with its allies to confront common problems.

“This is the beginning of an initiative by the president, to be followed around the world by our new secretary of state, that we’re back in the mode of listening to our friends and co-ordinating with our friends, as opposed to sitting in Washington and instructing our friends,” Gordon Giffin, a former U.S. ambassador to Ottawa, said yesterday. Read more here.