Obama and PM Harper Press Conference Transcript - Ottawa, February 19,
Obama and PM Harper Speak at Joint Press Conference - Obama says, "I
Love This Country."
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Full Transcript of Remarks by
US President Barack Obama and
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen
Harper hold a joint news conference on
Hill after private meetings.
President Obama appeared
well versed on topics important to Canadians including
mutual trade, global economy, and Afghanistan.
the YouTube of the Press Conference of President Obama and PM Harper on
February 19, 2009
of a News Conference Held Thursday, February 19, 2009 by
U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
transcript as released by the White House Press Secretary's Office
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, good afternoon.
MINISTER HARPER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen
Once again, it is a great pleasure to welcome President Obama to Canada.
We are deeply honored that he has chosen Canada
for his first foreign visit since taking office. His election to the
presidency launches a new chapter in the rich history of Canada-
U.S. relations. It is a relationship between allies, partners,
neighbors, and the closest of friends; a relationship built on our
shared values -- freedom, democracy, and equality of opportunity
epitomized by the President himself.
Our discussions today focused on three main priorities. First, President
Obama and I agree that Canada and the United States
must work closely to counter the global economic recession by
implementing mutually beneficial stimulus measures, and
by supporting efforts to strengthen the international financial system.
We concur on the need for immediate, concerted action to restore
economic growth and to protect workers and families hit
hardest by the recession through lowering taxes, ensuring access to
credit, and unleashing spending that sustains and
stimulates economic activity.
Second, President Obama and I agreed to a new initiative that will
further cross-border cooperation on environmental
protection and energy security. We are establishing a U.S.-Canada clean
energy dialogue which commits senior officials
from both countries to collaborate on the development of clean energy
science and technologies that will reduce greenhouse
gases and combat climate change.
Third, the President and I had a productive discussion about our shared
priorities for international peace and security -- in
particular, our commitment to stability and progress in Afghanistan.
This has been a very constructive visit, revealing to both of us a
strong consensus on important bilateral and international
issues. President Obama, I look forward to working with you in the
months ahead to make progress on these issues and build
on the long and deep friendship between our two countries and our two
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Well, it is a great pleasure to be here in
Ottawa. And Prime Minister Harper and I just
completed a productive and wide-ranging discussion on the many issues of
common concern to the people of the United
States and Canada.
I came to Canada on my first trip as President to underscore the
closeness and importance of the relationship between our
two nations, and to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to work
with friends and partners to meet the common
challenges of our time. As neighbors, we are so closely linked that
sometimes we may have a tendency to take our
relationship for granted, but the very success of our friendship
throughout history demands that we renew and deepen our
cooperation here in the 21st century.
We're joined together by the world's largest trading relationship and
countless daily interactions that keep our borders open
and secure. We share core democratic values and a commitment to work on
behalf of peace, prosperity, and human rights
around the world. But we also know that our economy and our security are
being tested in new ways. And the Prime Minister
and I focused on several of those challenges today.
As he already mentioned, first we shared a commitment to economic
recovery. The people of North America are hurting,
and that is why our governments are acting. This week I signed the most
sweeping economic recovery plan in our nation's
history. Today the Prime Minister and I discussed our respective plans
to create jobs and lay a foundation for growth. The
work that's being done by this government to stimulate the economy on
this side of the border is welcomed, and we expect
that we can take actions in concert to strengthen the auto industry, as
know that the financial crisis is global, and so our response must be
global. The United States and Canada are working
closely on a bilateral basis and within the G8 and G20 to restore
confidence in our financial markets. I discussed this with
Prime Minister Harper, and we look forward to carrying that
collaboration to London this spring.
Second, we are launching, as was mentioned, a new initiative to make
progress on one of the most pressing challenges of
our time: the development and use of clean energy. How we produce and
use energy is fundamental to our economic
recovery, but also our security and our planet. And we know that we
can't afford to tackle these issues in isolation. And that's
why we're updating our collaboration on energy to meet the needs of the
The clean energy dialogue that we've established today will strengthen
our joint research and development. It will advance
carbon reduction technologies and it will support the development of an
electric grid that can help deliver the clean and
enewable energy of the future to homes and businesses, both in Canada
and the United States. And through this example,
and through continued international negotiations, the United States and
Canada are committed to confronting the threat
posed by climate change.
In addition to climate change, Prime Minister Harper and I discussed the
need for strong bilateral cooperation on a range
of global challenges -- one of the most pressing being Afghanistan. The
people of Canada have an enormous burden there
that they have borne. As I mentioned in an interview prior to this
visit, those of us in the United States are extraordinarily
grateful for the sacrifices of the families here in Canada of troops
that have been deployed and have carried on their
missions with extraordinary valor. You've put at risk your most precious
resource: your brave men and women in uniform.
And so we are very grateful for that.
There is an enduring military mission against al Qaeda and the Taliban
in Afghanistan and along the border regions between
Afghanistan and Pakistan, but we also have to enhance our diplomacy and
our development efforts. And we discussed this in
our private meetings. My administration is undertaking a review of our
policy so that we forge a comprehensive strategy in
pursuit of clear and achievable goals. And as we move forward, we intend
to consult very closely with the government here in
Canada to make certain that all our partners are working in the same
In April, we'll have a broader dialogue with our NATO allies on how to
strengthen the alliance to meet the evolving security
challenges around the world.
And finally, we look forward to the Summit of the Americas. My
administration is fully committed to active and sustained
engagement to advance the common security and prosperity of our
hemisphere. We will work closely with Canada in
advancing these goals and look forward to a meaningful dialogue in
As I've said, the United States is once again ready to lead. But strong
leadership depends on strong alliances, and strong
alliances depend on constant renewal. Even the closest of neighbors need
to make that effort to listen to one another, to
keep open the lines of communication, and to structure our cooperation
at home and around the world.
That's the work that we've begun here today. I'm extraordinarily
grateful to Prime Minister Harper for his hospitality, his
graciousness, and his leadership. And I'm looking forward to this being
the start of a continued extraordinary relationship
between our two countries.
Q Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister. I have Afghanistan
questions for you both. Mr. President, General
McKiernan requested 30,000 extra troops; your new order calls for
17,000. How likely is it that you will make up that
difference after the review you've mentioned? And more importantly, how
long can we expect all U.S. combat troops to
be in Afghanistan?
And, Mr. Prime Minister, based on your discussions today, are you
reconsidering the 2011 deadline for troop withdrawal,
and are you also thinking about increasing economic aid to Afghanistan?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, David, the precise reason that we're doing a
review is because I think that over the last several
years we took our eye off the ball, and there is a consensus of a
deteriorating -- that there is a deteriorating situation in
Afghanistan. I don't want to prejudge that review. I ordered the
additional troops because I felt it was necessary to stabilize
the situation there in advance of the elections that are coming up. But
we have 60 days of work to do. They -- that review,
which will be wide-ranging, will then result in a report that's
presented to me. And from -- at that point, we will be able to,
I think, provide you with some clearer direction in terms of how we --
how we intend to approach Afghanistan.
In terms of length, how long we might be there, obviously that's going
to be contingent on the strategy we develop out of this
review. And I'm not prejudging that, as well.
I should mention, just to preempt, or to anticipate Prime Minister
Harper's -- the question directed at him, that I certainly did
not press the Prime Minister on any additional commitments beyond the
ones that have already been made. All I did was to
compliment Canada on not only the troops that are there, the 108 that
have fallen as a consequence of engagement in
Afghanistan, but also the fact that Canada's largest foreign aid
recipient is Afghanistan. There has been extraordinary effort
there, and we just wanted to make sure that we were saying thank you.
PRIME MINISTER HARPER: Just very quickly, as you probably know, it was
just last year that we were able to get through
Parliament a bipartisan resolution extending our military engagement in
Afghanistan for an additional close to four years at
that point. As we move forward, we anticipate an even greater engagement
on economic development. That was part of the
strategy that we adopted.
I would just say this -- you know, obviously we're operating within a
parliamentary resolution -- I would just say this in terms of
the United States looking at its own future engagement. We are highly
appreciative of the fact the United States is going to be a
partner with us on the ground in Kandahar. The goal of our military
engagement, its principal goal right now, beyond day-to-day
security, is the training of the Afghan army so the Afghans themselves
can become responsible for their day-to-day
security in that country.
I'm strongly of the view, having led -- you know, as a government
leader, having been responsible now for a military
mission in Kandahar province, that we are not, in the long term through
our own efforts, going to establish peace and
security in Afghanistan; that that job ultimately can be done only by
the Afghans themselves. So I would hope that all
strategies that come forward have the idea of an end date, of a
transition to Afghan responsibility for security, and to
greater Western partnership for economic development.
Q (As translated.) Good day. In French for you, Mr. Harper. With regard
to the environment, going beyond green technology,
how far are your two countries prepared to harmonize your strategy to
reduce greenhouse gases? And how will you
reconcile your approaches? They seem different when it comes to the tar
sands, for instance.
For you, Mr. President, I can repeat in English. On the part of the --
of the environment, beyond research, technology and
science, how far are your two countries willing to go to harmonize your
strategies in terms of greenhouse gas reductions?
And how can you reconcile your two approaches when they seem so
different, especially considering the fact that Canada
refuses to have hard caps, in part because of the oil sands?
PRIME MINISTER HARPER: (In French.)
(In English.) Briefly, first of all, really premature to talk about
anything like that, anything like harmonization with the United
States. The United States has not had a national dialogue and debate on
its own detailed approach. Obviously that's
something the President's administration will be doing.
What we have agreed to today is a dialogue on clean energy, and
particularly on the development of clean energy technology.
Both of our governments are making large investments in things such as
carbon capture and storage and other new
technologies designed to fight climate change. We share our -- our
document on this clean energy dialogue talks about things
we can do together to improve the electricity grid in North America.
There are all kinds of things we can do together,
independent of any American regulatory approach, on climate change.
We will be watching what the United States does very -- with a lot of --
with a lot of interest for the obvious reasons that, as
we all know, Canada has had great difficulty developing an effective
regulatory regime alone in the context of a integrated
continental economy. It's very hard to have a tough regulatory system
here when we are competed with -- competing with
an unregulated economy south of the border.
So we'll be watching what the United States does. We'll be looking
ourselves, for our own sake, at opportunities for
harmonization to make our policies as effective as they can. And I don't
think the differences are near as stark as you
would suggest. When I look at the President's platform, the kind of
targets that his administration has laid out for the
reduction of greenhouse gases are very similar to ours. You say we have
intensity, they have absolute -- but the truth is
these are just two different ways of measuring the same thing. You can
convert one to the other, if that's what you
want to do.
So I'm -- I'm quite optimistic. I'll be watching -- I'll be watching
what's done in the United States with great interest.
But I'm quite optimistic that we now have a partner on the North
American continent that -- that will provide leadership to
the world on the climate change issue, and I think that's an important
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, this is not just a U.S. or a Canadian issue; this
is a worldwide issue that we're going to have to
confront. There are good, sound economic reasons for us to address this
issue. You know, to the extent that, on both sides
of the border, we can make our economies more energy efficient, that
saves consumers money; that saves businesses
money; it has the added advantage of enhancing our energy security. And
we are very grateful for the relationship that
we have with Canada, Canada being one of -- being our largest energy
But I think increasingly we have to take into account that the issue of
climate change and greenhouse gases is something
that's going to have an impact on all of us. And as two relatively
wealthy countries, it's important for us to show leadership
in this area. I think the clean energy dialogue is an extraordinary
beginning because right now there are no silver bullets to
solve all of our energy problems. We're going to have to try a whole
range of things, and that's why sharing technology,
sharing ideas, sharing research and development is so important.
Here in Canada you have the issue of the oil sands. In -- in the United
States, we have issues around coal, for example,
which is extraordinarily plentiful and runs a lot of our power plants.
And if we can figure out how to capture the carbon, that
would make an enormous difference in how we operate. Right now the
technologies are at least not cost-effective.
So my expectation is, is that this clean energy dialogue will move us in
the right direction. We're not going to solve these
problems overnight, as Prime Minister Harper indicated. We have to
complete our domestic debate and discussion around
these issues. My hope is, is that we can show leadership so that by the
time the international conference takes place in
Copenhagen that the United States has shown itself committed and ready
to do its part.
I think the more that we can coordinate in -- with Canada, as well as
Mexico, a country that has already shown interest in
leadership on this issue -- and when I spoke to President Calderón, he
indicated this is an area of interest to him -- the more
that, within this hemisphere, we can show leadership, I think the more
likely it is that we can draw in countries like China and
India, whose participation is absolutely critical for us to be able to
solve this problem over the long term.
And, as Prime Minister Harper suggested, there are going to be a number
of different ways to go after this problem. You
know, we've suggested a cap and trade system. There are other countries
who've discussed the possibilities of a carbon tax.
I think there's no country on Earth that is not concerned about
balancing dealing with this issue on the environmental side an
making sure that, in the midst of a severe recession, that it's
not having too much of an adverse impact on economic
growth and employment.
So we think that we can benefit by listening and sharing ideas, and my
hope is, is that we emerge from this process firmly
committed to dealing with an issue that, ultimately, the Prime
Minister's children and my children are going to have to live
with for many years.
Q Thank you, to both of you. I've got a question for both of you. Mr.
President, on Tuesday you said that now is not the
time to reopen NAFTA. But your aides said that you would be trying to
convince our friends in Canada and in Mexico of
the rightness of your position. So, first, did you convince our friends
in Canada? And when is the right time to
incorporate labor and environmental standards into the main body of
Second, for Prime Minister Harper. Mr. Prime Minister, is there a way
for a "Buy American" provision to be compliant with
the U.S. obligations under the World Trade Organization?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, Jonathan, I'm not sure that was my
exact quote. I always get a little nervous about
responding to quotes without me actually seeing it. I think what I said
was, is that now is a time where we've got to be very
careful about any signals of protectionism, because, as the economy of
the world contracts, I think there's going to be a strong
impulse on the part of constituencies in all countries to see if we --
they can engage in "beggar thy neighbor" policies. And
as obviously one of the largest economies in the world, it's important
for us to make sure that we are showing leadership
in the belief that trade ultimately is beneficial to all countries.
Having said that, what I also indicated was that with a NAFTA agreement
that has labor provisions and environmental
provisions as side agreements, it strikes me if those side agreements
mean anything then they might as well be incorporated
into the main body of the agreement so that they can be effectively
enforced. And I think it is important, whether we're
talking about our relationships with Canada or our relationships with
Mexico, that all countries concerned are thinking
about how workers are being treated and all countries concerned are
thinking about environmental issues of the sort
that Emmanuelle just raised earlier.
So, you know, I raised this issue with Prime Minister Harper. My hope
is, is that as our advisors and staffs and economic
teams work this through, that there's a way of doing this that is not
disruptive to the extraordinarily important trade
relationships that exist between the United States and Canada.
Now you didn't ask me about the "Buy American" provisions, but
since it relates to our recovery package, let me just
reiterate -- and I said this very clearly before the bill was passed and
before I signed it -- that I think it was very important
to make sure that any provisions that were there were consonant with our
obligations under WTO and NAFTA.
And I think that is what we achieved. I recognize the concerns of
Canada, given how significant trade with the United States
is to the Canadian economy. I provided Prime Minister Harper an
assurance that I want to grow trade and not contract it. And
I don't think that there was anything in the recovery package that is
adverse to that goal.
PRIME MINISTER HARPER: I'll answer both questions, as well. First of
all, I just think it's important to reiterate that since
NAFTA came into force, and more importantly since Canada signed its free
trade agreement with the United States in
1988, trade agreements between our two countries have been nothing but
beneficial for these two countries. There has
been a massive explosion of trade. It was already the biggest trading
relationship in the world; it's so much bigger now.
And that trade supports, you know, countless millions of jobs.
And I don't think we should also forget the leadership that was
established in that. You know, this was about the end of the
Cold War, and Canada and the U.S. signed the first modern generation
trade agreement that really started -- started the
proliferation of these types of agreements, which really gave us the
growth of the global economy.
Now, you know, I know some aspects of trade invariably cause political
concerns, but nobody should think for a minute that
trade between Canada and the United States is anything but a benefit
between the two of us. And quite frankly, the trade
challenges we face are common trade challenges. The trade challenges we
face in North America are common trade
challenges; they're not problems between our countries.
So I just think it's always important to keep this in mind. The
President and I did have a good discussion of his concerns.
You know, our position is that we're -- we're perfectly willing to look
at ways we can -- we can address some of these
concerns, which I understand, without, you know, opening the whole NAFTA
and unraveling what is a very complex
agreement. But we had a good discussion on that and I think -- I'm
hopeful we'll be able to make some progress.
On -- on the "Buy American" provisions -- and let's also be
very clear, as well, that in both WTO and NAFTA, there
are -- there are industries and there are ways in which and there are
levels of government at which one can have
domestic preferences and purchasing policies. These things are allowed,
in some cases, but they are certainly not
allowed without limit. We expect the United States to adhere to its --
to its international obligations. I have every
expectation, based on what the President has told me and what he's said
publicly many times in the past, that the
United States will do just that.
But I can't emphasize how important it is that we do that. We have
agreed in Canada and, you know, all the major
countries of the world through the G20, we agreed to pursue economic
stimulus measures -- not just to stimulate our
own economies, but to recognize that we have a synchronized global
recession that requires policies that will not just
benefit ourselves but benefit our trading partners at the same time. If
we pursue stimulus packages, the goal of which
is only to benefit ourselves or to benefit ourselves, worse, at the
expense of others, we will deepen the world
recession, not solve it.
So I think it's critical that the United States has been a leader for a
long time in the goals of an open global economy.
I think it's critical that that -- that that leadership continue. And
I'm -- I'm quite confident that the United States will
respect those obligations and continue to be a leader on the need for
If I could just comment on our stimulus package, one of the things we
did in our stimulus package was actually remove
duties on some imported goods. Part of the reason we did that, it's in
our own economic interest, but also, as well, it will
help stimulate continental and global trade. And this is important for
our recovery. We know as a small economy we can't
recover without recovery in the United States and recovery around the
world. But that's true for all of us these days.
Q I have a question for both of you. Mr. President, during your meetings
today, did you discuss the possibility of Canada
stepping up its stimulus plans? And secondly, for both of you, what do
you think the Canada-U.S. relationship will look
like in four years? What will the auto sector look like? Will the border
be thicker or thinner? And will you have a carbon market?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You stuffed about six questions in there. (Laughter.)
Were you talking to Jonathan? Is that -- (laughter.)
Q I have more.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes, I'll bet. Well, first of all, I'll answer your
last question first. I expect that, four years from now,
the U.S.-Canadian relationship will be even stronger than it is today. I
expect that you will see increased trade. I think
we will see continued integration of efforts on -- on energy in various
industries, and I think that's to be welcomed.
I'm a little biased here because I've got a brother-in-law who's
Canadian and I have two of my key staff people who
hail from Canada. And I love this country and think that we could not
have a better friend and ally. And so I'm going to
do everything that I can to make sure that our relationship is
You mentioned a couple of specific issues -- the idea of thickening of
borders. One of the things that I would like to see is
-- and we -- Prime Minister Harper and I discussed this -- how we can
use some of our stimulus and infrastructure spending
that is already being planned around potentially easing some of these
bottlenecks in our border. Now, we've got very real
security concerns, as does Canada. But I think that it is possible for
us to balance our security concerns with an open
border that continues to encourage this extraordinary trade relationship
in which we have $1.5 billion worth of trade
going back and forth every single day.
With respect to the auto industry, obviously we are concerned -- we're
deeply concerned about the current state
of the North American auto industry. It is an integrated industry. When
we provided our initial federal help to the auto
industry, Prime Minister Harper stepped up and provided assistance that
was commensurate with the -- the stake that
Canada has in the auto industry.
We have just received the report back from GM and Chrysler in terms of
how they intend to move forward. My economic
team is in the process of evaluating it. One thing we know for certain
is that there's going to have to be a significant
restructuring of that industry. And as that restructuring takes place,
one in which all parties involved -- shareholders,
creditors, workers, management, suppliers, dealers -- as all of those
parties come together to figure out what is a
sustainable and vibrant auto -- North American auto industry, it's going
to be very important for our government to
coordinate closely with the Canadian government in whatever approach
that we decide to take. And we are
committed to doing that.
And finally, with respect to stimulus, I think that, as Prime Minister
Harper mentioned, Canada has put in place its own
stimulus package. We obviously are very proud of the recovery act that I
recently signed, not only because it provides
a short-term boost to the economy and provides relief to families that
really need help, but I think it also will lay the
groundwork for long-term growth and prosperity.
We were talking earlier about the issue of the electric grid. The
potential that exists for creating ways of delivering energy
from wind and solar across vast plains to get to urban areas and
populated areas is enormously promising. That's why
we are investing billions of dollars to help jumpstart that process.
And so we think we've taken the right approach to not only get the
economy moving again and to fill domestic demand
as well as global demand, but also I think Prime Minister Harper is
taking the same approach. And to the extent that as we
go to the G20 summit, that we are saying -- the most significant
economies in the world all taking these steps in concert,
then more -- the more likely we are that we're going to be able to slow
the recessionary trends, reverse them, and
start growing the economy again, which ultimately is the bottom line for
both the Prime Minister and myself -- making
sure that Americans, Canadians have good jobs that pay good wages, allow
them to support a family and send their
kids to college, and let their children aspire to new heights.
So I think we're going to continue to coordinate as closely as possible
to make sure that we are helping families on both
sides of the border.
PRIME MINISTER HARPER: You did ask several questions. I'll try and touch
on a few of them. On stimulus, first of all,
it's important to understand that Canada's economic stimulus package is
very large. It's certainly larger than the kind of
numbers the IMF was talking about in the fall with the provincial action
that we will bring in to our stimulus spending
-- will be close to 2 percent of GDP for this year, a percent and a half
for next year. This is not as large as the
stimulus package in the United States. But the issues in the United
States are different, and in fairness, they are
bigger than in Canada.
Let me just give you a concrete example of the difference -- I could
talk about housing, or the banking sector. But the
American stimulus package contains a significant money -- a significant
pot of money being transferred to lower levels
of government to deal with health care. Well, in Canada, as you know, we
already have permanent health care transfer
arrangements with our provinces before this economic crisis. So not all
of these things are directly transferable to
the Canadian experience. But by any measure, ours is a very large
As the President mentioned, we talked about today how we can use our
investments in infrastructure to focus specifically
on border infrastructure that we share. We know well at Detroit/Windsor
and elsewhere in Canada that the growth of our
trade is straining our border infrastructure that's independent even of
security demands. So there may be things we can
do there jointly in the name of economic stimulus that are beneficial
for the long term.
The statement lays out today a whole bunch of initiatives we're
undertaking, and I think President Obama mentioned them.
Beyond border infrastructure, we have joint action going on on the auto
sector. We were working closely with the
outcoming administration. We will be continuing to work with President
Obama's administration on what is an integrated
industry needs an integrated solution.
We are engaged in Afghanistan. We talked about that at length. We are
launching a clean energy dialogue on one of the
most important challenges of the next decade, and that is climate
change. So, you know, I see a range of initiatives that
will carry us forward for many years.
I do want to address two specific things, though, you raised -- one is
border thickening, and one is kind of four years from
now. On -- on the thickening of the border, I just want to make this
clear -- and I want to make this clear to our American
friends -- not only have we since 9/11 made significant investments in
security and security along our border, the view
of this government is unequivocal: threats to the United States are
threats to Canada.
There is no such thing as a threat to the national security of the
United States which does not represent a direct threat to
this country. We as Canadians have every incentive to be as cooperative
and alarmed about the threats that exist to the
North American continent in the modern age as do the governant people of
the United States. That's the -- that's the
approach with which we treat the border. Obviously we've been concerned
about the thickening of the border.
You know, in our judgment -- and we'll have some time to talk about this
as -- as we move along in our respective
governments -- we're looking at -- the key is to look at how we can deal
with security in a way that does not inhibit
commerce and social interaction. That is the real challenge. But let
there be no -- and that's where thickening of the
border concerns us -- but let there be no illusion about the fact that
we take these security concerns as seriously as
our American friends.
In terms of big picture, you know, I think this would be the safest
prediction in the world, that today Canada and the
United States are closer economically, socially, culturally, in terms of
our international partnerships 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 we can safely predict
that in four years' time we will be in exactly the same spot.
What we can do with that in the meantime -- and what I'm sure President
Obama will want to do with that -- is to take
that close relationship that is so deeply integrated when it comes to
things like trade and military -- military and defense
considerations, things where we have not only established a close
friendship, but where we have established models
that others who want to pursue close friendships have used around the
world -- that we can take those things and we
can continue to lead in the future. We can continue to show how two
countries can work together in ways that pursue
global cooperation and integration to mutual benefit.
And as we all know, one of President Obama's big missions is to continue
world leadership by the United States of America,
but in a way that is more collaborative. And I'm convinced that by
working with our country, he will have no greater
opportunity than to demonstrate exactly how that model can operate over
the next four years.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And let me just say that, to echo what the Prime
Minister said, we have no doubt about Canada's
commitment to security in the United States as well as Canada. Obviously
we've got long-lasting relationships around
NORAD, for example, and the same is true with respect to border
security; there's been extraordinary cooperation and
we expect that that will continue.
And Prime Minister Harper is right. It's a safe bet that the United
States and Canada will continue to enjoy an extraordinary
friendship, and together I think we've got an opportunity to show the
world that the values that we care about -- of
democracy, of human rights, of economic growth and prosperity -- that
these are values that the world can embrace,
and that we can show leadership. And I'm very much looking forward to
working with -- with this government and --
and all Canadians in order to promote these -- these values.
I want to also, by the way, thank some of the Canadians who came over
the border to campaign for me during the
-- during the election. (Laughter.) It was much appreciated. And I'm
looking forward to coming back to Canada as soon
as it warms up. (Laughter.)
PRIME MINISTER HARPER: This brings an end to the press conference. Thank
you very much, everybody.
END 3:31 P.M. (Local EST)
the Official White House YouTube of President Obama's Visit to Canada on
February 19, 2009.
Interviews President Obama
at the White House
February 17, 2009
Plus: Quotes from US
Presidents on Previous
- President Barack Obama and PM Stephen Harper Ottawa Press Conference