Bush to Visit Canada on Nov. 30
Nov. 16, 2004
TORONTO (AP) _ President Bush will make his first official visit to Canada on Nov. 30, meeting Prime Minister Paul Martin for talks that will range from terrorism and security along the world longest undefended border to trade problems, officials said Tuesday.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said he hopes to deal with commercial issues stemming from mad cow disease and the softwood lumber imports.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the visit would focus on ``ways to build on our excellent cooperation'' on terrorism, democracy and economic growth.
Specific topics Bush is likely to address include military staffing in Afghanistan and training and nation-building aid in Iraq.
Relations with Canada have been strained for some time, exacerbated by the Iraq war. Bush canceled a trip to Canada in May 2003 because of the Iraq war. News of the cancellation came about two weeks after then-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien canceled a trip to Washington following criticism from the U.S. ambassador to Canada.
The ambassador, Paul Cellucci, said the American government was upset and disappointed that Canada failed to join the U.S.-led military coalition fighting in Iraq.
In 2002 the United States imposed tariffs averaging 27 percent on softwood imports from four Canadian provinces, contending that government subsidies kept Canadian lumber prices artificially low and threatened the U.S. industry. Canadians say softwood exports to the United States fell sharply after the tariffs were imposed, forcing mills to lay off thousands of workers.
Most recent presidents have visited Canada first after taking office; Bush went to Mexico.