Obama, Trudeau strengthen U.S.-Canada alliance with common values

Washington, Mar 10 (EFE).- President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday strengthened the bilateral relationship with agreements to fight climate change and facilitate trade between the two nations, but above all through their defense of common values and mutual admiration.

Trudeau, with his wife Sophie, is making the first U.S. state visit by a Canadian leader in almost 20 years and they were warmly welcomed to the White House, where Thursday evening the president and first lady Michelle Obama will fete the pair with a gala banquet.

"There is no relationship in the entire world like the Canada-U.S. relationship. Our great countries have been friends a long time ... (W)e bring out the best in one another," Trudeau said during the White House welcome ceremony.

Along the same lines, Obama said that the bilateral relationship is "extraordinary" and that the important thing is working together on pending challenges.

"The more aligned we are, the more we can shape the international agenda to meet these challenges," said Obama.

The president named climate change as one example, calling it "a big problem" for everyone, and mentioned the package of joint measures agreed to on Thurday by the U.S. and Canadian governments to deal with global warming.

At the ceremony and at the subsequent press conference the mutual admiration for one another professed by Obama and Trudeau was clearly on display.

Trudeau, in office as prime minister for five months, said that Obama has "tremendous heart and tremendous intellect," and thanked him for "being able to draw on his experience and his wisdom."

Meanwhile, Obama said Trudeau's coming to power had injected "new energy and dynamism" into both Canada and the bilateral relationship.

In reviewing the "common values" guiding the two countries, the president mentioned the "freedom to marry the person that you love," as well as the fact that healthcare is the "right" of all U.S. and Canadian citizens, "not a privilege."

Obama said that although he was certain that the next U.S. president, whoever he or she may be, will not agree with him on everything, "the U.S.-Canadian relationship will be fine."