Key moments from Biden’s speech in Canada: A crack at the Maple Leafs, China slip-up and a powerful ovation for 'Michaels'
The U.S. president lingered on Canada's long-standing partnership — but had to take a crack at the Toronto Maple Leafs
U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau both addressed Canadian Parliament on Friday.
It’s part of Biden’s 27-hour trip north of the border, marking the first non-summit overnight visit by a U.S. president in almost two decades.
Mr. President, you are a true friend to Canada. That matters more than ever in this consequential moment. Make no mistake. These are serious times.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Biden reciprocate in his own address: "Our destinies are intertwined and they're inseparable. … I mean this from the bottom of my heart. There is no more reliable ally, no more steady friend, and today I say to you, you will always be able to count on the United States of America."
Amid a plethora of standing ovations, the two leaders spoke on a variety of issues plaguing both countries and the world, as well as their partnership. Along the way, a few jokes were also made.
Continuing their fight for Ukraine
The leaders spent a considerable amount of time calling out Russia’s “unjustifiable war.”
“Together, both of us are partners that Ukraine, and the world, can count on since [Vladamir] Putin launched his brutal invasion,” said Trudeau. “After a terrifying spring, violent summer and fall, and an exhausting winter, Ukraine still stands.”
Trudeau highlighted that Canada and the U.S. stood shoulder and shoulder when they decided to fight in World War II, noting there are “battlefields around the world where our soldiers lie in cemerties, shoulder to shoulder.”
Biden also called out the “brutal aggression” that Russia has displayed against Ukraine, while noting that Canada and the U.S. partnership is "the most obvious united response they have toward effective global action. "
“Putin was certain he would have been able to break NATO by now,” said Biden. Guess what, his lust for land and power has failed thus far. … Canada and the United States are also making clear our commitment to our NATO allies: a n attack against one is an attack against all.”
Two Michaels get powerful standing ovation; Biden, Trudeau namedrop China
Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor get a standing ovation in the House of Commons ahead of President Biden's address to Parliament. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/kNRWnjbuGJ
— Stephanie Ha (@stephanie_ha) March 24, 2023
Multiple times, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor received large standing ovations from those in attendance.
First, it was before the official addresses, but then they were both honoured by Trudeau and Biden.
“Mr President, when the plane transporting the two Michaels landed on Canadian soil after more than 1,000 days of arbitrary detention in China, Canadians proved that resilience, perseverance and strength are more than just lofty ideals,” said Trudeau.
Biden applauded Canada’s ability to fight arbritrary detention, through its coalition of nearly 70 countries.
“Not only a statement of value, our citizens are not bargaining chips, they’re not diplomatic leverage,” said Biden, as he thanked the Two Michaels also for the opportunity to meet in person over his two-day visit.
Aside from a mention from Trudeau about China being “increasingly assertive,” in the global market, this stood as the only mention of the world leader. That is, if you don’t count Biden accidentally saying “I want to applaud China,” instead of Canada.
❗️"Today, I applaud CHINA for stepping up. Excuse me, I applaud Canada." : Joe Biden 😁#Biden #JoeBiden pic.twitter.com/kMdr8lx9Sq
— OsintTV📺 (@OsintTV) March 24, 2023
Biden makes jokes about his ability to speak French ... and the Maple Leafs
After Trudeau’s speech, which was half in French, Biden decided to crack a joke, starting off with “Bonjour Canada.”
He’d quickly explain that it was about all that he could muster up, after only taking four years of classes, and that the first time he attempted to make a speech in French, “I was laughed at”.
His jokes didn’t stop there. Instead, he took a jab at the Toronto Maple Leafs. It started by mentioning how our countries are interviewed, such as sports leagues.
“I have to say, I like your teams except the Leafs,” he said, getting a standing ovation from the majority of the crowd.
He explained how they handed the Philadelphia Flyers a loss in January, so he had to say that to remain on his wife’s good side.
“I married a Philly girl. If I didn’t say that I’d be sleeping alone. Fellas, I like you, but not that much.”
Joe Biden just took a shot at the Toronto Maple Leafs in his speech to Parliament
“I like your (hockey) teams, except the Leafs!”
Biden says he doesn't like them cause the Leafs beat the Flyers in January #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/01nxZ3l9Qr
— Mackenzie Gray (@Gray_Mackenzie) March 24, 2023
Another visit to the Moon, this time with Americans and Canadians
Biden announced that three Americans and one Canadian astronaut will join each other in a mission to the moon.
In just a few days, NASA is set to announce the Artemis 2 mission, marking the first human voyage to the moon since the Apollo mission ended more than 50 years ago.
“We choose to return to the moon together," said Biden. “From there we look forward to Mars into the limitless possibilities that lie beyond.”
He notes that after two years of COVID-19, people began to wonder if we “can still do big things.” He wants Canadians and Americans to not have their confidence wander from making their audacious dreams into a reality.
Biden says if there’s one word to describe both Canada and the U.S., it would be “possibilities.”
Biden says that there will be a Canadian astronaut in the next mission to the moon! #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/I1zNsQsW1f
— Mackenzie Gray (@Gray_Mackenzie) March 24, 2023
Importance of Inflation Reduction Act
Both sides continued to stress how intertwined they are, as Trudeau on multiple occasions lamented how “economic policy is climate policy is security policy.”
One point of emphasis was the U.S.'s Inflation Reduction Act, which is a spending package that was introduced by the Biden administration to transition the U.S. to a clean economy.
Trudeau notes that by doing so, he’s creating jobs for Americans, but also more clients for Canadian critical mineral processors, for the country's clean energy innovators, and for their integrated auto workers, farmers, growers, and producers.
“It's an example of how we can make progress at home and as partners,” said Trudeau, as Biden also mentioned how his Inflation Reduction Act “includes tax credits for electric vehicles assembled in Canada.”
Security: Migrants, NORAD, Drugs
Biden made the China slip-up after trying to thank Canada for their agreement to effectively close a loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement, as Canada is ready to accept 15,000 more migrants who are entering through a land border.
“We're expanding legal pathways for migration, to seek safety on a humanitarian basis, while discouraging unlawful migration that feeds exploitation and human trafficking,” said Biden.
The U.S. president also thanked Canada’s partnership in NORAD, after the two countries recently shot down suspicious ballons floating over North America.
In addition, Biden said that Canada and the U.S. have agreed to start a new global coalition to tackle the synthetic opioid epidemic, an announcement that received a standing ovation.
“Fentanyl is a killer. Almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by this, lost a child or lost a friend.”