Biden in Canada: What to Expect

Former ambassadors and experts on the Washington and Ottawa relationship discussed key issues to come up during the U.S. president's visit to Canada.


  • Louise Blais, former United Nations Deputy Permanent Representative, Canada; Senior Advisor, Business Council of Canada
  • Gordon Giffin, Partner, Dentons, former U.S. Ambassador to Canada
  • Colin Robertson, former Canadian diplomat, and Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs Institute
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas
  • Earl Anthony (Tony) Wayne, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and business affairs, former Ambassador to Mexico (moderator)

Ahead of President Joe Biden's visit to Canada to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 23, former ambassadors and experts discussed key issues for the bilateral relationship between the United States and Canada in a virtual event organized by Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the Woodrow Wilson Center. Canada is the United States' top foreign energy supplier and a top trade partner. Though headlines about the trip have focused on potential conversations about Ukraine and the environment, Biden's trip to Canada could take different direction; panelists highlighted that potential bilateral topics could include crucial industry sectors, opportunity for collaboration, and tough diplomacy spots.

"You can't do growth and prosperity if you haven't got defense and security right," said Canadian Global Affairs Institute's Colin Robertson, talking about how Ukraine and other crisis such as Haiti can influence the two leaders' meetings. Business Council of Canada's Louise Blais talked about the potential the countries have to partner in a transition to the green economy, considering heightened focus on natural resources and critical minerals for new industries. But she also reminded the audience that "Canada will require investment and assistance in development." AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth stressed that the two leaders need to bear in mind how much the economies are intertwined and that both countries' strategy should focus on mutual success. Former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Gordon Giffin discussed the importance of commitments the United States and Canada have to partners around the world.