When normal people go over to a friend’s place for a sleepover, they get pizza, watch a movie or a game, maybe talk about whether or not Mr. Wilkins from gym class is secretly an alien sent 40,000 light years specifically to torture young humans.
But when you’re Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family? Your sleepovers include fancy dinners at The White House (aka, the home of the President of the United States), where after dinner you and that president talk about stopping climate change. In your pyjamas. (That last part might not be true…)
All joking aside, Trudeau is just finishing up a very rare type of visit between the leaders of the two countries. Why so rare? World leaders are in touch all the time. For two countries as close as Canada and the U.S., phone calls between leaders are quite frequent. Face-to-face visits are too, especially since, as world leaders, you appear at many of the same meetings to discuss international issues.
But that’s not what Trudeau is doing in the U.S. capitol of Washington, D.C. This is a state visit, and it’s a big, big deal. You are officially welcomed to the White House with speeches, special appearances, saluting guards, and an extremely posh dinner (in fact, there were some items of presidential china that were used for the first time). Invited to the dinner are hundreds of diplomats, senators, and politicians from both countries, even celebrities like movie stars Ryan Reynolds and Mike Myers. Overall, Trudeau is the first Canadian prime minister in 20 years to have a state visit there.
But this is more than just an excuse for a big party with killer new soup bowls. Obama is doing this as a show of respect for Trudeau because he knows that they have a lot to work on together. Trudeau is a brand new prime minister with a lot in common with his American partner on issues like the environment and foreign policy (that’s how a country views the rest of the world).
Already, the pair have discussed reducing greenhouse gases and improving “green energy technologies” (these are power and electricity generating businesses that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly). They are also looking for ways to improve trade, or how businesses and products from the two countries work together to benefit each other. It’s just a start. The real work on these things will continue over the next year and beyond.
But for now, can we just agree? Trudeau and Obama = BFF. (Justin’s already invited the Prez to visit Canadian Parliament this spring!)