Obama in Canada: Obama and Harper Talk Economy and Security
Updated 7pm Est
United States President Barack Obama met with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff before flying back to Washington in Air Force One. He left Ottawa Airport at 5:30pm est, pretty much on schedule.
Updated 3:45pm Est
Obama's motorcade left Parliament Hill and headed back towards the Ottawa airport. There Obama will meet with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae to discuss a number of other issues.
Updated 3:16pm Est
During a press conference that began Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Harper officially welcomed Obama to Canada and said Canadians were very pleased to be the first country he visited since the start of his presidency.
Harper said their discussions focused on:
An agreement that Canada and the US must work closely to counter the global economic recession by implementing mutually beneficial stimulus efforts. The two countries concurred on immediate action to restore economic growth and protect workers and families hit hardest. This meant lowering taxes, lower bar for credit lending and stimulating the economy.
They also agreed to a new initiative: on environmental protection and energy security. A US-Canada clean energy dialogue. Which commits senior officials from both countries to work on clean energy, science and technologies.
Third, they shared priorities for international peace and security, in particular, the commitment to stability and progress in Afghanistan.
Harper said it was a very constructive visit, revealing an important consensus on how to move forward.
President Barack Obama Addresses Canadians
Obama faltered when he first addressed the people of Ottawa, but seemed to know the issues inside and out.
"It is a great pleasure to be here in Iow- Ottawa." said Obama. "I came to Canada on my first trip as president to underscore the closeness between our two nations."
Obama outlined the issues Harper had address above, and began going over the three main issues the two leaders discussed.
"We also know our economy and security are being tested in new ways," said Obama. "The people of NA are hurting and that is why our governments are acting."
"This week I signed the most sweeping econ recovery plan in my countries history," said Obama. "We know that the economic crisis is global, so our response must be global."
second, new initiative: The development and use of clean energy. We're updating our collaboration on energy to meet the needs of the new century. it will advance carbon reduction technologies and will support an electric grid that can deliver power to homes and businesses in the US and Canada.
On Afghanistan: the people of Canada have an enormous burden there that they have borne. He said he and the American people were grateful.
His administration is looking into how they're handling Afghanistan, and will communicate with Canada to work with them on the problem.
President Obama Answers Press Questions
Q - How many troops will the US send, and for how long?
A - The reason they're doing a review is because for a few years the us 'took our eye off the ball'. There was a sense of a deteriorating situation in afghanistan. Obama ordered troops to stabilize in advance of elections that are coming up. They have 60 days until the review, which will be wide-ranging. At that point we can provide clearer direction.
"In terms of length, how long we might be there, obviously that will be contingent on this review," said Obama.
Q - Why are they focusing on energy and environment
A - There are good, sound economic reasons for us to address this issue, to the extent that on both sides of the border we can make our nations more energy-efficient. That saves citizens money, it saves businesses money. It has the advantange of increasing our energy security.
Increasingly we have to take into account the issue of climate change, greenhouse gases is something that's going to have an effect on all of us. And for two relatively wealthy countries it's important for us to show leadership in these areas.
Right now there are no silver bullets to solve our energy problems. That's why sharing ideas, sharing resesarch development is so important.
Q - Will 'buy america' bill affect Canadian trade?
A - Any provisions that were there, were consument under agreements under WTO and Nafta. I recognize the concerns of Canada, given how significant trade with the US is to the Canadian economy, I provided Harper with an assurance that I want to grow trade and not retract it. I don't think there was anything in the recovery package that was adverse to that goal.
Q - What do you think the Can/US relationship will look like in 4 years
A - I expect that four years from now, the US/Canadian relationship will be even stronger than it is today. I esxptet you will see increase trade, continued immigration on efforts on energy and various industries. I'm a little biased here, because I've got a brother in law who's canadian, two of my key staff people who hail from canada and I love this country and think that you could not have a better friend and ally. so I'm going to do everything to make sure our bond is streg
The idea of thickening of borders, one of the things I"d like to see is how we can use some of our stimulus and infrastructure spending that's already planned towards potentially easing those restrictiopns between our two countries.
I think it is possible to deal with our security concerns and keep an open border between us.
Updated 2:40pm Est
US President Barack Obama and Stephen Harper sat down to a 'working lunch', which was running slightly late due to a longer than expected private meeting between the two world leaders.
The closed meeting between Harper and Obama was only scheduled for 10 minutes, but ended up running closer to 33 minutes.
Everyone is waiting for the press conference at 2:45pm est (though that might be pushed back due to the longer meeting).
Updated 10:30am Est
US President Barack Obama arrived in Ottawa, Canada at exactly 10:30am est this morning, amid a large amount of security. He was met by a small honour guard of RCMP and the Governor General, Michaelle Jean and her husband. After a short meeting they immediately left for Parliament Hill.
CBC is reporting that a 20-year-old was arrested while attempting to climb over a barricade at Parliament Hill. He has been taken in for questioning.
Air Force One has touched down at Ottawa International Airport for Barack Obama’s first foreign trip as U.S. president in what is being billed as a six-hour no-nonsense working visit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
US President Barack Obama began his trip to Canada by boarding Air Force One in Georgia Thursday at 9am est, heading to Ottawa. The trip will take about an hour, after which he will be met by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Obama and his top advisors are expected to talk with Harper's team for approximately 6 hours, after which Obama will fly back to Washington.
You can find all sorts of coverage on Obama's visit to Canada at our channel page 'Obama in Canada'
A few dozen people, some holding flags and banners, are gathered in front of Parliament Hill Thursday morning hoping to catch a glimpse of Barack Obama when he arrives for his first foreign trip as president of the United States.
A few dozen people were gathered at Parliament Hill in Ottawa at 9am est, waiting for a glimpse of US President Barack Obama's arrival at 10:30am.
While he's only going to be in Canada for about seven hours, US President Barack Obama seems ready to hit the ground running. As part of his entourage, Obama will be bringing his top advisors to meet with Stephen Harper.
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Vancouver (NE Downtown / Harbour Centre / Gastown / Yaletown), British Columbia, Canada