American Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a virtual meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau. He was also expected to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which would make it the first bilateral meeting he has had since being sworn in. It’s all part of a push by both countries to demonstrate that the relationship between Canada and the United States is returning to normal after the tensions that were created during the Trump regime.
The issue of the “two Michaels– Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadians who have spent the last two years in custody in China was on the agenda. Earlier this weeks President Biden expresses a willingness to try to help repatriate the two Canadians whose imprisonment is believed to have been retribution for the arrest in December 2018 of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei. Meng is due back in court Monday in Vancouver for an extradition hearing to determine whether she should be sent stateside to face fraud charges. She was arrested on the request of the US government.
As he began his meeting with Minister Garneau today Blinken said, “It’s hard to think of two countries whose destinies are more connected, more intertwined than ours. We know that every single day, the work that we’re doing, and more importantly the deep ties between our people — in virtually every aspect of our societies — are benefiting both countries.”
In further diplomatic moves, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson spoke Wednesday with John Kerry, Biden’s special envoy on climate, to shore up plans for more stringent emissions-reduction targets in advance of a climate summit in April. And Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra have committed to tougher vehicle pollution standards, and collaborating on new standards for aircraft and ships.