Trudeau’s father reached out to Biden when his wife and daughter died

The Biden and Trudeau families have a decades-long personal and political relationship 

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Tuesday 10 November 2020 20:30
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As news broke of President-elect Joe Biden winning enough Electoral College votes to take the White House in the 2020 election, world leaders offered their congratulations to the incoming leader.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada was one of those leaders to not hesitate on offering his congratulations, despite President Donald Trump still challenging the election results to this very day.

Mr Trudeau made a congratulatory call to the president-elect over the weekend once the news broke.

“We’ve worked with each other before, and we’re ready to pick up on that work and tackle the challenges and opportunities facing our two countries — including climate change and Covid-19,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter, hinting at topics he and Mr Trump remain at odds about.

The acceptance of the US election results isn’t just political move for Mr Trudeau, but also a personal one – as the two families have held a close relationship since his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, was in office.

After Mr Biden’s wife Neilia and their baby daughter Naomi was killed in a car accident in 1972, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau reached out to Mr Biden personally “and commiserated” with him, the president-elect later recalled. He was just nominated as a junior senator of Delaware at the time.

Then in 2016, following the news of Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton, Mr Trudeau held a rare farewell state dinner for departing Vice President Biden.

“We are more like family. That’s the way the vast majority of Americans feel about Canada and Canadians,” Mr. Biden said during a toast at the dinner. “The friendship between us is absolutely critical to the United States.”

He added: “Vive le Canada. Because we need you very, very badly.”

Politically, the Canadian prime minister might also be breathing a sigh of relief with an incoming Biden administration because it could be a return to America’s international cooperation with its allies. Mr Trump, while president, often promoted an “America First” ideology.

Besides the two leaders talking about Covid-19 and race relations this past weekend, Mr Trudeau revealed that they agreed to work closely on global issues like trade, energy, and NATO.

Mr Trudeau also asked for cooperation from the Biden administration on China, specifically with the country’s imprisonment of Canadian citizens.

“We talked about those specific challenges today, as well as trade, energy, NATO, anti-Black racism, and China’s arbitrary detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor,” Mr Trudeau said. “On these and other issues, President-elect [Joe Biden] and I agreed to keep in touch and work closely together.”

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