WASHINGTON — A warm moment in Canada-U.S. relations unfolded on the White House lawn Thursday, one marked by small talk, big fanfare and a plan to see President Barack Obama address Canada’s Parliament before he leaves office.
The day began with a elaborate bit of bilateral cinematography: a military brass band, a cannon salute and hundreds of flag-waving onlookers greeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in town for the first state dinner involving a Canadian in 19 years.
The leaders greeted the crowd along the rope line while their wives chatted nearby. A relaxed, wisecracking Obama made some jokes about American hockey dominance, while noting how long it had been since a similar Canada-U.S. event.
“We are very proud to welcome the first official visit by a Canadian prime minister in nearly 20 years. About time, eh?” Obama said.
“We have a common outlook on the world, and I have to say I have never seen so many Americans excited about the visit of a Canadian prime minister.”
Indeed, the two leaders went out of their way to project amity: Trudeau described the president as “My friend” and “Barack.” Obama said people were inspired by his message of hope and change.
â€˜A favourability rating that is equal to â€¦Gretzkyâ€¦and well ahead of Justin Bieber,â€™ Kerry says of Trudeau