New Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed hopes to strengthen US-Canada relations Thursday as the young liberal leader makes a much-anticipated visit to the White House.
Trudeau, the 44-year-old son of late PM Pierre Trudeau, got one of the highest honors the US reserves for close allies: a pomp-filled visit that includes a meeting with President Barack Obama and a state dinner, the first for Canada since 1997.
In the context, Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland described Trudeau in a phone interview as: "He's going to make a real splash in Washington."
Freeland, a former US-based news executive, added that Canada is "a little bit like the girl next door, absolutely essential, a bedrock relationship, but easy to not focus on because there are so many more troubling and more exotic distractions."
However, she stated that Canada needs "Americans to take the relationship seriously," and Trudeau is helping put Canada on the radar.
Meanwhile, Canada is considered the United States' largest trading partner, with more than $2 billion worth of goods and services crossing the border every day. About 75 percent of Canada's exports go to the US.
In the meantime, Trudeau aims to restore his father's legacy as leader of the Liberal Party, which was under siege during 10 years of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper, Trudeau's predecessor.
But Trudeau's election in October ushered in a new era for Canada's politics in which Trudeau and others hope will help strengthen relations with the US.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team