National Newswatch

MANILA, Philippines - U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday at the APEC summit that the United States and Canada will "both soon to be signatories to the TPP."

The 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership signed Oct. 5 was one of several topics Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Obama discussed during their first formal meeting since Trudeau took office earlier this month.

Obama's comment to reporters following their meeting came a day after he made an impassioned pitch to the 12 TPP leaders — including Trudeau — to ratify the deal as quickly as possible.

The Liberal government has promised to consult with Canadians on the massive trade pact and put it to a vote in Parliament.

Trudeau and Obama also said they discussed terrorism, ISIL, the economy, the border, energy, climate, Syria, and refugees during their conversation.

Regarding ISIL, Trudeau told reporters that Canada will do "more than its part" and remain a strong member of the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Trudeau reiterated that Canada intends to withdraw its CF-18 fighter jets from the U.S.-led coalition bombing militants in Syria and Iraq and replace them with a more robust force of military trainers on the ground in Iraq.

The two leaders also discussed energy in the wake of the Obama's rejection of Keystone XL pipeline earlier this month, saying he had environmental concerns about approving the transport of dirty oil from Alberta across the United States.

Asked how he might convince the United States to accept more of what Obama termed "dirty oil," Trudeau replied that Canada's environmental record "was not good in the past and we need to do better."

Trudeau said he wanted to "reassure Canadians and others that we are serious about meeting our emissions reductions targets."

Obama added that both countries will need to "rethink how we do energy."

"Canada and U.S. are both important oil and gas producers, and we make no apologies but we need to shift from carbon intensive energy to other sources," he said.

The U.S. president predicted oil prices would stay low for a while and this presented an opportunity for producers to diversify their business and for consumers to not to use more gas. He said the transition would be “messy”

On the refugee issue, Trudeau and Obama are on the same page on bringing Syrian refugees to their countries despite security concerns that have surfaced since the attacks in France last week that killed 129 people.

Obama reiterated that tourists pose more of a threat than refugees in the United States and are "heavily screened."

Trudeau pledged during the recent federal election campaign that Canada would accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year

Obama also announced that Trudeau will pay his first visit to Washington, likely early in the new year, “so we can have a more extensive expanded bilateral.”

"I'm sure Michelle’s going to want to visit with Canada’s new first lady so we are going to be looking for a date for that to happen," said Obama.

Trudeau said he looked forward to visiting the White House.

"I certainly know that my wife Sophie is going to very excited to hear about Michelle’s garden because she has started a vegetable garden as well in our backyard," said Trudeau.

"It’s going to be a wonderful time of strengthening ties between our two countries both on the economic, on the security, on the engagement with the world and on the personal level."

The 54-year-old president also told the story of his congratulatory phone call to Trudeau after his election win.

Obama told Trudeau he had no grey hair when he took office seven years ago.

"If you don't want to grey like me you need to start dying it soon," Obama recalled telling Trudeau.

Trudeau replied: "So young, and yet so cynical."

The Canadian Press
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