U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talk to the media later in the afternoon on Friday. In an address to Canada's parliament earlier, Biden stressed the importance of the longtime alliances both nations have maintained and continue to do so in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine and economic uncertainties in the Western hemisphere. Photo courtesy White House YouTube
March 24 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden spoke to Canada's parliament Friday afternoon, touting the United States' partnership with its northern neighbor and pledging to continue to work together on climate change and the war in Ukraine.
During his first trip to Canada as president, Biden said it was essential the two nations continue to support Ukraine in its ongoing fight against Russian aggression.
"The world needs Canada and the United States working together with our partners around the world to rally strong and effective global action," Biden said. "Nowhere is that more obvious than in our united response to Russia's brutal aggression against Ukraine."
Acknowledging Canada's large Ukrainian diaspora, Biden said, "Canada and the United States, together with a coalition of 50 nations we jointly worked to put together, are making sure that Ukraine can defend itself.
"We're supplying air defense systems, artillery systems, ammunition, armored vehicles, tanks, and so much more," the president said.
Biden stressed U.S.-Canadian unity several times, saying, "In war and in peace, we have been the stronghold of liberty. A safeguard for the fundamental freedoms that give us our -- our lives -- literally give our lives meaning."
The president also hit on a key theme that has become familiar during his presidency: creating jobs. He said that addressing climate change would not only be good for the environment, but it would be good for workers, as well. He specifically cited the manufacturing increase in electric vehicles and their charging stations in both Canada and the United States.
"We're going to build batteries and technologies that go into those vehicles together," Biden said. "We've learned the hard way during the pandemic that when we rely on just-in-time supply chains that circle the globe, there are significant vulnerabilities to disruptions and delays."
And secure supply chains can promote both nations' clean-energy goals, Biden said.
Citing an abundance of natural resources in both nations, Biden said, "Canada, in particular, has large quantities of critical minerals that are essential for our clean energy future -- for the world's clean energy future. And I believe we have an incredible opportunity to work together so Canada and the United States can source and supply here in North America everything we need for reliable and resilient supply chains."
Biden arrived in Canada on Thursday, where it was reported that the two countries had reached a deal to divert asylum seekers from their borders.
The move will allow Canada to turn back immigrants who cross into the country from an unofficial border crossing in New York while Canada has agreed to provide a legal refugee program for 15,000 migrants seeking asylum from violence and economic troubles in Central and South America.
The United States and Canada signed the original deal, the Safe Third Country Agreement, in 2002.
The treaty went into effect in 2004 and prevents asylum seekers from making an asylum claim in one country if they have already passed through another country where they could have made an asylum claim. It does not apply to those who enter Canada by plane or ship.
However, the Roxham Road crossing at issue -- which connects the New York town of Champlain with Hemmingford, Quebec -- is not an official border crossing and so asylum seekers could still seek haven in Canada despite having passed through the United States.
During a closed-door meeting on Friday morning, Biden said America was lucky to share a border with Canada.
"We disagree in degree on things occasionally, but there's no fundamental difference in the democratic values we share, and it really makes a big difference," Biden said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed those sentiments, saying "we have no greater friend and ally than the United States."