Obama has praised Canadian troops and honored Canada's sacrifices in Afghanistan and Libya, cheered Canada's Winter Olympics victories (even though rooting for Team USA, of course), worked to address Canadian complaints about the "Buy American" provisions of the stimulus legislation, and agreed to tackle border, energy and regulatory cooperation through a set of bilateral negotiations.
At the same time, the Obama administration has maintained other foreign relationships and has often conceded to domestic political interests.
It is undeniable that Canada has not got everything it has asked for from the Obama administration. Nor have some key domestic interests, and the president has been under pressure from key constituencies and voters in general for his apparent failure to deliver on promises in this election year, so Canada is hardly alone.
President Barack Obama and the visiting leaders of Mexico and Canada on Monday pledged joint efforts to combat drug cartels in Mexico and expand international trade, including support for Canada and Mexico joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Citing the increasingly global nature of issues such as trade and security, the three leaders told reporters that what happens within the borders of their neighboring countries affects everyone in North America.
Obama repeated his previous support to reduce the demand for drugs in North America and slow the flow of guns and money across the border into Mexico.
Obama said he rejected the permit application now based on the State Department's recommendation, which concluded there wasn't enough time to vet alternate pipeline routes.
In February 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper signed the Beyond the Border declaration, which described their shared visions for a common approach to perimeter security and economic competitiveness. The 2011 agreement focuses on information sharing and joint threat assessments to develop a common and early understanding of the threat environment; infrastructure investment to accommodate continued growth in legal commercial and passenger traffic; integrated cross-border law enforcement operations; and integrated steps to strengthen shared cyber-infrastructure.
The election of Barack Obama in November 2008 signaled a new chapter in U.S.-Canada relations. Unlike President Bush, Obama has been quite popular in Canada—a January 2009 public opinion poll put the new American president’s approval rating in Canada at 86%
Building on ongoing cooperation, both countries intend to work through the RCC to determine sectors on which to focus its work that are characterized by high levels of integration, significant growth potential, and rapidly evolving technologies.
Both countries are committed to evidence-based, predictable, cost-effective regulatory approaches carefully targeted to enable businesses to continue to innovate and grow.
The President and the Prime Minister believe that the United States and Canada must work together to make their economies stronger and more competitive, while meeting their fundamental responsibilities to protect the safety and welfare of their citizens.
Today, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have directed the creation of a United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), composed of senior regulatory, trade, and foreign affairs officials from both governments. In recognition of our $1 trillion annual trade and investment relationship, the RCC has a two-year mandate to work together to promote economic growth, job creation, and benefits to our consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination.
However, it is the global economic downturn that is expected to be the main topic of discussion between Harper and Obama.
Other topics that are expected to be discussed include: the ailing auto sector, and the mission in Afghanistan.
Obama plans to ramp up U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Defense Secretary Robert Gates has previously made comments that seemed to suggest the U.S. would like Canada to extend its Afghan mission beyond 2011.