US President Barrack Obama came to Ottawa on a one-day visit where he join his Canadian and Mexican counterparts Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Enrique Pena Nieto for his final “Three Amigos” summit before heading to Parliament Hill to deliver a special address in the House of Commons Chamber.
President Obama gave a 50-minute speech in the Commons which was rousing, passionate and playful at different times. It was the first to be delivered in the Commons by a U.S. president since Bill Clinton in 1995 , he reiterated the “extraordinary alliance” between Canada and the United States.
PM Justin Trudeau characterized their relationship a “dudeplomacy.”
Here are some of the highlights of his speech:
- “Canada was the very first country that I visited as President. It was in February. It was colder. I was younger. Michelle now refers to my hair as the Great White North. On that visit, I strolled around the ByWard Market, tried a Beavertail, which is better than it sounds. And I was struck then, as I am again today, by the warmth of Canadians.”
- “Our relationship is so remarkable precisely because it seems so unremarkable. Which is why Americans often are surprised when our favourite American actor or singer turns out to be Canadian.”
- “In moments like this, we are called upon to see ourselves in others, because we were all once strangers. If you weren’t a stranger, your grandparents were strangers, your great-grandparents were strangers. They didn’t all have their papers ready. They fumbled with language, faced discrimination, had cultural norms that didn’t fit. At some point somewhere, your family was an outsider.”
- “In Canada, a woman has already risen to the highest office in the land. In America, for the first time a woman is the presumptive nominee of a major party, and perhaps president. I have a bias on these issues. But our work won’t be finished until all women in our country are truly equal, paid equally, treated equally, given the same opportunities as men, when our girls have the same opportunities as our boys. That’s who we need to be.”
- “More than any other system of government, democracy allows our most precious rights to find their fullest expression, enabling us through the hard, painstaking work of citizenship to continually make our countries better, to solve new challenges, to right past wrongs. And, Prime Minister, what a powerful message of reconciliation it was here and around the world when your government pledged a new relationship with Canada’s First Nations.” – CINEWS