It was a brief visit, lasting only about 7 hours and only to Canada's capital city, Ottawa. America's first black President was met by Canada's first black Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, at the airport. The trip's primary purpose was to enjoy a working lunch with Stephen Harper, Canada's Prime Minister. Topics discussed were the economy, energy, climate change, trade and the war in Afghanistan--which involves 2,800 Canadian troops. Thus far, Canada has lost 108 soldiers in that conflict and intends to withdraw its troops by 2011.
Ottawa buzzed that morning with Canadian Obamamania. Vendors on the streets sold Obama Burgers and a special blend of coffee using beans from Kenya (in tribute to the President's African father). A carillon in the center tower of the Parliament buildings, played by an American, was to chime a patriotic American tune to welcome the President to Canada's seat of government as he arrived in his protective limousine known as "the beast." After these meetings and just before leaving Ottawa, the President visited ByWard Market to purchase souvenirs for his daughters and to enjoy an ObamaTail--a remake of Canada's pastry delicacy known as the BeaverTail.
It is essential that these leaders quickly develop a close working relationship, because the two nations have the world's largest trading partnership! Many Canadians feared this might be threatened by the "Buy American" clause in President Obama's stimulus package. Susan Bourette, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, explained: "President Obama tried to allay fears, saying Canadians 'shouldn't be too concerned' about the 'Buy American' clause. 'Canada is one of our most important trading partners, we rely on them heavily ... it is not in anybody's interest to see that trade diminish,' the president told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on Tuesday."
Canada and the United States share a continental economy in which the two nations' industries are heavily intertwined. Canada is the primary supplier of energy to the U.S., largely in the form of oil and natural gas, including petroleum. Canada now exports more oil to the U.S. than to any other country, with 75 percent coming from the province of Alberta in the form of tar sands. Canadian and American environmentalists urged the President to depend less on Canada's tar sands, which provide "dirty oil" due to the damaging environmental impact of extraction. President Obama, in an interview with CBC-TV news anchor Peter Mansbridge, acknowledged that the extraction process has left a "big carbon footprint." In their discussions, the leaders agreed to a clean energy dialogue. CBC News reported, "During a news conference on Parliament Hill, both leaders said the new environmental initiative will include development of clean energy science and technologies that will reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change."
Susan Bourette wrote, "The two countries are not only old friends, they're also business partners, with bilateral trade topping $500 billion yearly. 'It's the largest trading relationship in the world,' says Denis McDonough, US deputy national security adviser." (op.cit.) [emphasis mine throughout]
During their press conference, Prime Minister Harper said, "Today Canada and the United States are closer economically, socially, culturally, in terms of our international relationships, than any two nations on the face of the earth, closer friends than any two nations on the face of the earth and I think that we can safely predict in four years time we will be in exactly the same spot."
In his interview with CBC-TV's Peter Mansbridge, President Obama said, "Obviously there is enormous kinship between the United States and Canada, and the ties that bind our two countries together are things that are very important to us."
Do you know why Canada and the U.S. have such close friendship, and indeed kinship? They have a special familial relationship illuminated by the Book of Genesis. Why not read our booklet The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy, which will explain this captivating story in detail?