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With only weeks left in the Obama Presidency his Vice President, Joe Biden, was welcomed with open arms by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government on this date in 2016. Biden traveled to Ottawa and was feted by Trudeau and his team.

“We are the closest of friends, steadfast partners, and unwavering allies,” the Prime Minister said at the State Dinner in the Vice President’s honour. “Our relationship is bigger than trade and security. Canada and the U.S. share common core values like equality of opportunity, and the fundamental belief that if you work hard, you will succeed. I believe in these values and I know Joe does, too.”

Biden’s visit to Ottawa, of course, took place in the shadow of the coming Inauguration of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States. A change in tone from Washington was coming but for now, Trudeau and his team preferred to remember the good times (in their view) under President Obama.

You can read more of PM Trudeau’s toast to Joe Biden below.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

It is an extraordinary pleasure to be here tonight to celebrate and mark this extraordinary deep friendship between Canada and the United States, and host a state dinner for Vice President Joe Biden. You know, about six months ago, President Obama graciously hosted a state dinner in Washington for us Canadians, but he sent Joe out of town that night and he missed it, so we’re ever polite as Canadians, happy to be hosting Joe here tonight for his very own state dinner.

Although, I have to say, there’ll be no Ryan Reynolds or Blake Lively here tonight for you, Joe. I’m the only eye candy you get to sit with tonight. But we’ve turned out our best tonight, not just in this room but outside of this room as we’ve put on our very best winter wonderland show for you.

The first snowfall of the year in Ottawa is always wonderful, Joe, because the snow is fresh and clean and it hasn’t yet turned into that grey sludge or cement we deal with for the rest of the … winter. But I … it got me thinking. I went home tonight after work to help the kids with their homework and get them ready for bed, and then I decided to go for a run to clear my head, and as I ran through the snow, I got to thinking about the cycle of seasons, about how we Canadians thrive through whatever the conditions.

And it got me thinking obviously about tonight and this extraordinary friendship between Canada and the United States. One that thrives through all the cycles of political seasons, whether it’s warm sunshine or heavy snow, whether it’s paddling in a canoe over a glassy lake or lifting the elbows in the corners in a hockey game, we do very well in all conditions, and this friendship endures through whatever situations we encounter. It’s a special friendship. One that is unique on the world stage.

As all good friends, we agree on a great many things and disagree on a few others, but always remain united in our hope for a stronger North America, and mostly, a better world for our kids and our grandkids. We are the closest of friends, steadfast partners, and unwavering allies.

Our relationship is bigger than trade and security. Canada and the U.S. share common core values like equality of opportunity, and the fundamental belief that if you work hard, you will succeed. I believe in these values and I know Joe does, too. His life’s work in politics reflects that.

As most people in this room know, Joe has dedicated the past four decades of his life to public service since his election to the U.S. Senate in 1973. And the first time I met Joe a number of months ago he told me stories of my dad and how they had gotten along famously well back in the 1970s when he was a young senator and my father was doing what he was doing up here. And I know that my dad and Joe had some great talks about public service and political life in the 1970s, and I know all of us would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall in those conversations. Because Joe has fought all his life for causes he believes in. Things like combatting sexual assault, domestic violence, and gun violence. It’s fitting for Joe to visit us right now at the tail end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.

This has long been an important cause for him and we thank him for his continued leadership on the world stage on this issue. And Joe’s commitment and the United States’ commitment to helping the middle class grow and prosper is one that we certainly share. So, Joe, it’s a pleasure to have you with us in Ottawa for a few days. Tomorrow will be a great opportunity for you to hear from provincial, territory, and Indigenous leaders, many of whom are here with us tonight — thank you for being here — for you to hear about climate change, about clean growth, and about the far-reaching impact and importance of this Canada-U.S. friendship. A tried and tested partnership, Canada and the U.S. will forever remain friends and allies as we tackle the world’s greatest challenges together.

Thank you for your leadership, Joe, and thank you for your, and for your country’s, enduring friendship. Thank you, my friend.

Vice President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 2016

Arthur Milnes is an accomplished public historian and award-winning journalist.  He was research assistant on The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s best-selling Memoirs and also served as a speechwriter to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as a Fellow of the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy under the leadership of Tom Axworthy.  A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Milnes serves as the in-house historian at the 175 year-old Frontenac Club Hotel.
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