With President Obama’s departure coming up, we will miss many things from his time in office, most notably his friendship and endearing alliance with Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
On November 10 of 2015, Justin Trudeau, leader of the liberal party, was sworn into office as Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister. Trudeau has stated that the first time he spoke with Obama, he was in awe. President Obama had called him over the telephone, and upon answering, Obama asked Trudeau to call him ‘Barack’, and not ‘sir’. Ever since, Trudeau and Obama have developed a blooming friendship and maintained a strong alliance. The New York Times has stated that “In a private conversation, the president advised Trudeau to be active early, but also to think about calibrating sky-high expectations with a long-term plan for governance. Obama shared his impressions of various world leaders, suggesting whom to build relationships with – and whom to steer clear of.” Clearly, Obama made clear early on that he admired and respected Trudeau, and wished to spend more time with him. Trudeau has also stated that ‘’It was nice to confirm in person how like-minded [Obama and I] are on so many issues. He said that seeing my family on TV on election night reminded him of his election in 2008 with his family. I’m looking forward to having a beer with him.’’ It is no surprise that their endearing relationship led people to form a ship name for them: Trubama, a mix of their last names.
Throughout history, Canada and America have arguably had one of the most mutually beneficial alliances in the world. From the War of 1812, to World War II, to relations with NATO, America would not be the same without its Canadian counterparts, and vice versa. With a relationship dating back two centuries to the American Revolution, this is a political alliance that is unstoppable. President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau not only further maintain this great alliance, but have worked together to make great changes for their North American countries and also form a long-lasting friendship throughout the process.
One of the major things they worked together to accomplish was fighting climate change and building a cleaner, more prosperous environment. They have stated that they want their nations to “play a leadership role internationally in the low-carbon global economy over the coming decades”. They both have also agreed in the fact that they want to work together to preserve the Arctic. Both leaders played vital roles in the Paris Climate Deal, which strived to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to hopefully reach net zero within a decade. Over 200 nations were involved, and after this ambitious agreement, Trudeau and Obama also took on their own joint agreement towards climate change. They stated that they will regulate methane emissions from gas and oil facilities and hopefully cut them by 40 to 45% by 2025 from 2012 levels. Both nations also agreed to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) by implementing their respected individual plans on the issue. In June, Trudeau and Obama met with Mexican President Nieto and furthermore discussed the roles that North America needs to take in tackling climate change. They proceeded to ensue in the most awkward three-way handshake of political history, and went on to form a valid alliance on preserving North American environment.
Both leaders are also adamant liberals, and have independently made great progressive changes for their respected nations. While Obama’s time in office included the iconic legalization of gay marriage throughout America, Trudeau attended a pride parade in Toronto, making him the first Canadian Prime Minister in history to do so. In November, the Canadian government also promised to take in a substantial number of gay refugees from war-torn refugees, as they previously stated that Canada doesn’t plan on taking in unaccompanied male refugees, but made an exception for the LGBT+ community. Upon Trudeau’s instatement into office, he has made many changes to Canada’s refugee acceptance plan, drastically opening up the gates for many that were previously excluded. He helped implement Canada’s ambitious Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program, which took in 25,000 Syrian refugees upon implementation.
In March, Obama invited Trudeau and family to a state dinner at the White House making it the first state dinner to honor a Canadian Prime Minister in 19 years. At the event, Obama gave a toast to Trudeau, and expressed some witty and adorable remarks about how Trudeau may now be the most famous Canadian named Justin (sorry Justin Bieber). Obama shared sweet remarks about Trudeau and the way in which he leads Canada, while beautifully portraying that leaders of powerful countries are still human and can make fun of their friends. Trudeau responded with more all-endearing remarks about Obama, and ended the toast with this: “Barack, thank you for all that you have done these past seven years to preserve this most important relationship. May the special connection between our two countries continue to flourish in the years to come, and may my grey hair come in at a much slower rate than yours has.” The captivating and humorous toasts shared by these two leaders perfectly portray their wonderful relationship both as dear friends and as important allies.
From the US-Canada Climate Agreement to Trubama’s excellent selfie-taking skills, the friendship between Canada’s Trudeau and America’s Obama is one that we will cherish long after Obama’s departure from office.