Canada's Trudeau to get state dinner

Canada's Trudeau to get state dinner
© Getty Images

President Obama will host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a state dinner on March 10, the administration announced Monday. 

The honor will come just months after Trudeau's election in Canada.

“The visit will be an opportunity for the United States and Canada to deepen their bilateral relationship, which is one of the closest and most extensive in the world,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. 

Obama is looking to pursue closer ties with Canada under Trudeau’s leadership. 

ADVERTISEMENT
The president and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reportedly had a frosty relationship, driven by Obama’s refusal to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline. 

Trudeau also disagreed with Obama’s decision to scrap the controversial pipeline project, a choice made just days after Trudeau took office in November.

But the bigger differences between Obama and Trudeau may concern the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

Still, the 43-year-old Canadian leader has said he is looking forward to a “fresh start” with Obama, and there are signs of a budding partnership between the two.

Obama reportedly extended the invitation during his congratulatory call to Trudeau following his election victory. The two already appear to have a chummy relationship. During the call, Obama encouraged Trudeau to call him by his first name. 

The Liberal Party head recalled the conversation during a recent interview with The New York Times Magazine, dropping his voice to imitate the president. 

“'Justin, I like to think of myself as a young politician. The gray hair caught up with me, and it’ll catch up with you. But calling me ‘Sir’ makes me feel old. Call me ‘Barack,’” Trudeau said.

Trudeau will be accompanied by his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau. Obama and Trudeau will hold a meeting to discuss energy, climate change and security issues, the White House said. 

The last White House state dinner for a Canadian leader was in 1997, when Prime Minster Jean Chrétien was invited by President Bill Clinton.