Economy, environment on meeting agenda
With Barack Obama making his first official visit to Canada today, the excitement in the nation's capital -- as in the country as a whole -- is absolutely palpable.
According to Stephen Harper, he's relishing the opportunity to discuss matters with Obama that were difficult to deal with under George W Bush's Republican administration -- like the environment.
Harper says he's particularly looking forward to working with Obama on fighting climate change.
"We've been trying to do so in an integrated economy when the United States has not been willing to do so. I think quite frankly that we have the present administration that wants to see some kind of regulation in this is an encouragement," Harper told Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room.
Harper also stressed the importance of resisting protectionist measures, noting how destructive protectionism would be to the global economy, particularly during this time of crisis.
As it turns out, Harper and Obama seem largely on the same page as it regards the economy. Harper wasn't the only leader granting an exclusive interview in another country yesterday. The CBC's Peter Mansbridge interviewed Obama from the White House. During the interview, Obama echoed many of Harper's sentiments.
Many Canadians will also be relieved to hear that Obama won't pressure -- at least officially -- Ottawa to remain militarily committed to Afghanistan. Although Prime Minister Harper and Defense Minister Peter MacKay still have to answer important questions regarding who will be expected to protect Canadian aid workers after the withdrawal of Canadian Armed Forces from the country.
Ever since Obama's election many Canadians have been eagerly looking forward to his first meeting with Stephen Harper. Many have wondered what kind of relationship the Conservative Prime Minister will have with a Democrat President.
Finally, the wait is over.