Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Joe Biden discussed a wide array of challenges facing North America during a Monday phone call, which the prime minister’s office said made him the first world leader to speak with the president-elect.
The prime minister was also one of the first international figures to send congratulations to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Saturday when major networks called the presidential race in Biden’s favour.
Trudeau said the two men discussed the coronavirus pandemic; racism in the U.S. and Canada; climate change; working together with NATO and the G-7; the Keystone XL pipeline; trade agreements; and the detentions of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadian citizens who were charged with espionage by China in a move speculated as retaliation for the 2018 Vancouver detention of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei.
Also on Monday, Trudeau said he had “confidence in the American electoral process” when asked if he had congratulated Biden too soon and stated that his office would continue to work with the Trump administration until Jan. 20, when the president-elect is scheduled to take office.
Notably, the prime minister once paused for about 20 seconds when asked to comment on Donald Trump’s call for military action against U.S. protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
In the aftermath of the first presidential debate in late September, Trudeau and other Canadian political leaders were quick to denounce right-wing extremism and white supremacy groups such as the Proud Boys ― which were founded by British-Canadian Gavin McInnes ― when Trump sidestepped doing so.