(OTTAWA) US President Joe Biden arrived in Canada early Thursday evening, his first official visit to the country since being elected in 2020. He was greeted by Governor General Mary Simon, with whom he is due to meet, and by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Treasury Board President Mona Fortier at Macdonald-Cartier Airport where the presidential plane, Air Force One, landed.
Mr. Biden and his wife Jill Biden are then scheduled to travel to Rideau Cottage, the Prime Minister’s residence, in the evening for an informal meeting with Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.
A long day awaits the American president on Friday. He must arrive on Parliament Hill in the morning, all under high security. Barricades blocked Wellington Street on Thursday, which has remained closed to motor traffic since the “freedom convoy” last year. Only authorized persons will be able to access it.
A brief welcoming ceremony is scheduled with several dignitaries in attendance, including Senate Speaker George Furey, House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota, and the leaders of all opposition parties. President Biden will then meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Their discussion should focus on the modernization of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the resilience of supply chains, the transition to clean energy to combat climate change, an intervention to stem the crisis in Haiti, irregular migration at Roxham Road and their continued support for Ukraine, according to information provided by senior US officials.
They confirmed on Wednesday that Mr. Biden will also meet with the leader of the Official Opposition, Pierre Poilievre. The interview should take place in the afternoon.
The US President will deliver a speech in the House of Commons before taking part in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. An official dinner will take place in the evening with around 100 guests, including deputies, senators, ambassadors and business leaders.
No crowds are expected. During his visit in 2009, former President Barack Obama took a detour to the ByWard Market where he bought cookies from the French bakery Moulin de Provence and ate a beaver tail.