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President Biden speaks during a virtual joint press conference with Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday. Photo: Pete Marovich/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a "U.S.-Canada Partnership roadmap," as the pandemic forced their meeting to go virtual on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden said he chose to have his first bilateral meeting with Trudeau because the U.S. "has no closer friend" than Canada. Trudeau made clear he was keen on strengthening relations, which had become strained under former President Trump and his "America First" policy.

"U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past year," Trudeau said.

The big picture: The two leaders pledged to work together to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, strengthen global alliances and defense.

  • Trudeau thanked Biden for his support on the release of detained Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who were arrested in China on espionage charges.
  • Their arrests are believed to be in retaliation for Canada's detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who's accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
  • "Human beings are not bartering chips," Biden said.

Go deeper

Feb 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Canada's parliament declares China's persecution of Uyghurs "genocide"

Uyghur activists protest China's treatment of the Uyghurs in Vancouver, British Columbia in January 2020. Photo: Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Canada's House of Commons on Monday voted 266-0 to recognize China's documented campaign of mass internment, forced labor and forced sterilization of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang as a "genocide."

Why it matters: The vote will likely put pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to get tougher on China. Trudeau and most members of his Cabinet abstained from Monday's vote.

18 mins ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.