Photo Op with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
The White House
March 14, 2002
6:10 P.M. EST
PRESIDENT BUSH: It's my honor to welcome the Prime Minister of Canada, a personal
friend and a great friend of America, back to the White House. We had a wide-ranging
discussion on a lot of topics, starting with how appreciative I am of his steadfast
support and the Canadian government's steadfast support and the Canadian people's
steadfast support in our war against terror. We know the Canadians have put
troops on the ground in Afghanistan and they have performed brilliantly. For
that, we are grateful.
We also talked about our border. We've got a great relationship on our border.
We've had a series of meaningful discussions on putting reforms in place. I
believe our border cooperation is going to be a model for not only our hemisphere,
but also for the world.
We also talked about trade issues. Canada is a massive trading partner with
the United States, and it's an important trading partner of the United States.
And like any relationship that has got a lot of issues, sometimes we run into
rough spots. And one such issue is softwood lumber. But our negotiators, as
a result of the Prime Minister's assistance and my assistance, are working overtime
to achieve and agreement by March the 21st. We're making very good progress.
And we've agreed to keep working hard to achieve an agreement that is satisfactory
to both parties. And I believe we can achieve that.
So, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much for coming. Oh, by the way, we talked
energy. It's important for the American people to know that as a result of our
trade agreements with Canada and our close relations, Canada is a significant
supplier of energy to the United States. And that's positive. It's much better
for us to be securing our energy from a friend, and a stable friend, and a partner.
And so I appreciate the Canadian energy business. I appreciate the exploration
that's going on. It is good for our economy. I shared with the Prime Minister
I'm optimistic about our economy. We've still got some rough spots, but it looks
like we may be improving. And if we are, that will be good news for both of
So, Mr. Prime Minister, welcome back. It is my honor to serve you dinner again
and it's a thrill to be with you.
PRIME MINISTER CHRÉTIEN: Thank you, Mr. President. I cannot add to what
the President said. He covered the ground very well. I think the relations between
America and Canada could not be better. We are solving problems, when we have
one. We are working with America in the war against terrorism. Our troops are
in the fight at this moment in Afghanistan. You know, in the snow, we're good
at it, President, you know. And we --
PRESIDENT BUSH: You're good on the ice, too. (Laughter.)
PRIME MINISTER CHRETIÉN: We are good on the ice, too. And both men and
women -- (laughter.) And so -- and we have to work on our other problems. Thank
you for the statement you made on softwood lumber. I think that the defense
of our values and against terrorism are extremely important for Canadians. And
we have worked very well together.
For me, I should say a few words in French, with your permission. Can you translate
after that? (Laughter.)
(Speaks in French. Continues in English.) I want to tell you that we spoke about
Africa and I want to say -- I said that in French -- I want to say thank you
for what you have announced today about the programs that you have announced,
because as you know, at Kananaskis in Canada, the G-8, the main topic will be
Africa. And we want to establish a partnership with them. They came to Genoa
last June -- you and our colleagues asked me to take -- at that time. And I
think that the partnership, and with your contribution, is developing very well.
Next month I will be traveling in Africa for -- visiting five or six countries,
to build a partnership, but to reward good governance, human rights, to make
sure that they have real democracies and so on. And those who don't do that
will have to -- not to be rewarded, because it will not meet what the world
So thank you again, Mr. President.
For the press, I will take questions after my dinner. Thank you.