Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend next week’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles as President Joe Biden summons leaders to talk about what’s ailing the Western Hemisphere.
On his way to California, Trudeau and Defence Minister Anita Anand will also pay a visit to Colorado Springs, which is home to the jointly commanded continental defence system known as Norad, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed Friday.
Trudeau will be in Colorado on Tuesday before travelling to Los Angeles for meetings at the summit, which gets underway Monday and runs through the week.
Military analysts have been waiting for months to hear more about how Canada and the U.S. plan to upgrade Norad, particularly in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, although it’s not clear whether an announcement is imminent.
In L.A., the social and humanitarian impact of the war in Ukraine will be a central theme of the talks, as will new ways to address global migration challenges, including those confronting the U.S. at its southern border.
Trudeau will also be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, who will be involved in additional meetings on climate change and nature protection.
The prime minister “will underscore the importance of taking ambitious climate action, including by protecting our oceans and cutting pollution, while creating good jobs and growing the economy,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a release.
“He will also promote democracy and reinforce the continued importance of COVID-19 testing and treatments, both to identify dangerous variants and to contain future outbreaks.”
Immigration, however, is expected to be the dominant topic at the summit, where Biden is expected to seek buy-in from across the hemisphere on a comprehensive, holistic strategy to address the root causes of irregular migration.
That approach will recognize the role of the economic and security challenges wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere, said in a briefing call earlier this week.
Biden will propose what Gonzalez described as a strategy of shared responsibility and economic support for those countries most impacted by the flow of migration. It will also include a multilateral declaration “of unity and resolve” to bring the crisis under control.
“The leaders of the region that are either source, transit, or destination countries for migration are really coming together behind a plan that recognizes that the migration challenge is not one that is at the U.S. border, but it’s one that is actually impacting all the countries in the Americas.”
Defending core democratic values will also be a major focus in Los Angeles, which is part of why the U.S. has not invited leaders from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela to attend — three authoritarian countries with dubious records on human rights.
Others, including Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Bolivian President Luis Arce, have vowed not to attend unless all of the hemisphere’s heads of government were invited.
The U.S. has yet to release a final list of attendees; the White House insisted earlier this week there’s still plenty of time.
“One week is not the 11th hour when it comes to how things move,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday. “We still have some final considerations, and once we have that together, we will share that.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2022.