Mr. Harper Goes to Washington
July 17, 2021

Week of July 17 – July 21, 2021

The Prime Minister recently visited President Bush, in Washington, in an effort to improve bilateral relations and to discuss various issues of concern for both sides of the border. Prime Minister Harper’s trip was a huge success and a great deal was accomplished.

Many issues were on the agenda for discussion between the two leaders. President Bush started off by praising Canada’s anti-terrorism efforts, following the 17 arrests made in early June. President Bush also thanked Prime Minister Harper for Canada’s role in Afghanistan and stated that Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan demonstrates the country’s important role in shaping foreign policy.

The two men went on to discuss the recently negotiated softwood lumber deal. President Bush recognized our Prime Minister’s leadership in resolving the longstanding dispute. Following their brief discussion on the issue, the two men went on to address the war on terror, as well as Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the future of North American Free Trade Agreement, and the recent election in Mexico.
The Prime Minister also spent a great deal of time discussing the American Government’s plans to require a passport or some other form of high-technology identification from anyone entering the United States over land borders by January 01, 2008. Prime Minister Harper urged Congress and the President to carefully consider such plans, as security should not come at the cost of friendship, trade, and tourism. President Bush agreed with the Prime Minister that the WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) should not unnecessarily hinder cross-border tourism and trade and told Prime Minister Harper that if Congress provides flexibility to delay the plan’s deadline, the American Government will work with the Canadian Government to provide an extension. If Congress decides to proceed with the plan the way it is, the U.S. will work with Canada to make the law work.

North Korea was also a topic of discussion for the two leaders, following the country’s recent missile launches. President Bush reported that he has been in contact with leaders of Japan and Russia, in an effort to encourage them and other countries to engage in discussions to resolve the missile crisis diplomatically. Prime Minister Harper also acknowledged that missiles directed at the United States also constitute a threat for Canada and is a topic of major concern for our country.

The Prime Minister finished his meeting with President by presenting him with a Calgary Stampede belt buckle, a RCMP Stetson, and arctic silver cufflinks, in recognition of the President’s 60th birthday. The two leaders will meet again this week for the G8 Summit, in St. Petersburg, Russia, to discuss energy security, Iran, North Korea, the environment, trade, as well as many other issues.