Bilateral Meeting Re-opens Dialogue on Matters of Significant & Mutual Interest
“There is work to be done to repair the relationship which suffered over the last four years but the kinship between the United States and Canada is long and strong.” – Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins
A News Release to Canadians and to his American constituents from Buffalo, New York area Democratic Party Congressman Brian Higgins
Posted February, 23rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large
Buffalo, New York – Today (this Feburary 23rd, 2021), President Biden, Prime Minster Trudeau, and their top staff will hold a virtual meeting as the two nations begin to lay out the “US – Canada Partnership Roadmap.”
Below is the schedule released by the White House:
4:00 PM THE PRESIDENT participates in his first bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada; THE VICE PRESIDENT also attends
5:45 PM THE PRESIDENT and Prime Minister Trudeau give statements on their bilateral meeting
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), who serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, welcomed the bilateral meeting between United States President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In December, Higgins asked the incoming Biden Administration to prioritize coordination along the Northern Border<https://higgins.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/congressman-higgins-asks-biden-administration-to-prioritize-northern>. The new Administration has followed through.
Higgins said, “There is work to be done to repair the relationship which suffered over the last four years but the kinship between the United States and Canada is long and strong. President Biden’s swift actions and open dialogue demonstrates the value this Administration places in the US-Canada bond. Collaborative efforts related to COVID, trade, climate, security, equal rights and economic growth are globally significant and mutually beneficial to our nations and citizens.”
President Biden’s first call with a foreign leader was with Prime Minister Trudeau during Biden’s first week in office. The virtual meeting<https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/02/20/statement-by-white-house-press-secretary-jen-psaki-on-the-bilateral-virtual-meeting-between-president-joe-biden-and-prime-minister-justin-trudeau/> with Trudeau on February 23, is the President’s first meeting with a foreign head of state.
The border between the US and Canada initially closed to non-essential travel due to the pandemic in March of 2020 and restrictions continue to be in place today. Higgins repeatedly called for the previous Administration to take a nuanced approach<https://higgins.house.gov/sites/higgins.house.gov/files/6-12-20%20NORTHERN%20BORDER.pdf> to border management rather than the one-size-fits-all shutdown that separates people from their families, property and businesses.
During his first week in office, President Biden issued an executive order<https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/21/executive-order-promoting-covid-19-safety-in-domestic-and-international-travel/%20%20′> addressing northern border restrictions, calling for US departments to work with Canadian agencies and develop a plan to be delivered within 14-days.
As a follow-up, Higgins led a bipartisan letter signed by 24 members<https://higgins.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/higgins-stefanik-lead-bipartisan-push-for-action-on-us-canada-border> of Congress sharing several recommendations with the Biden Administration as federal agencies worked on the formulation of a border strategy. The recommendations include the development of plans to allow people to access property and reunite with family.
The United States and Canada share 5,525 miles of border, the longest land boundary between two countries in the world. When fully operational, more than 400,000 people and over $1.6 billion in goods cross the Northern Border daily through over 120 Ports of Entry.
Congressman Higgins also serves on the House Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, including its Subcommittee on Trade. Higgins’ Western New York district, which encompasses the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, borders Southern Ontario and includes three automobile and two rail crossings between the United States and Canada.
A Brief Footnote from Niagara at Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
It has certainly not gone without notice over the years that our neighbour – Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins – is frequently sending out news releases that impact on our border communities and on Canada-U.S. relations, including issues like border crossing, Great Lakes-related issues and our related social, cultural and economic interests.
By contrast, hardly a news releases from the two Canadian government representatives here in Niagara – Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey and St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle.
Do they not think that their constituents might be interested in hearing from them more often on issues of interest to our Canada-U.S. border communities?
Or do we have to count on a U.S. Congressman from Buffalo to reach out with news on interest and concern to people on both sides of the Niagara River?
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