Conservative Leader O’Toole discusses COVID-19, other issues with Prime Minister Trudeau

CONSERVATIVE Party Leader Erin O’Toole on Friday in a phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau underscored the importance of Canadian and American governments working on a collaborative approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the importance of ensuring a stable and effective supply of vaccines. He also noted the need for more publicly available data to help Canadians make informed decisions about COVID-19, according to a Conservative Party statement.  

With the election of President-elect Joe Biden in the United States, O’Toole reiterated the need for collaboration with the incoming Biden-Harris administration on several issues of mutual interest.

O’Toole spoke about the threat Communist China poses to both Canada and the United States and the need for Trudeau to clearly express Canadians’ desire to work more closely to counter China. Specifically, he highlighted Canada’s notable absence from the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue that the United States is looking to establish with Australia, India, and Japan.

O’Toole also spoke to Trudeau about the vital importance of Keystone XL to Canada and the need to make this clear to the incoming Biden administration. He offered his support to ensure this project moves forward, and urged that the completion of this project be paramount in Canada’s view of the bilateral relationship. 

As well, O’Toole raised the fact that collaboration between Canada the United States on environmental standards provides an opportunity to make meaningful environmental progress with the world’s second-largest emitter and to protect the economic viability of our industries, including Canada’s energy sector. O’Toole also noted his willingness to support Net Zero legislation provided it supports Canadian industries, including Canada’s world-leading oil and gas industry, which ascribes to the highest environmental, social, and corporate governance standards in the world. 

They also discussed the modernization of the NORAD agreement, with Mr. O’Toole pressing that it is in Canada’s national interest to become a complete partner.

O’Toole and Trudeau ended the meeting by reaffirming the importance of eliminating COVID-19 and by wishing their families well.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that Trudeau updated O’Toole on Biden’s incoming administration.

It added: “The Prime Minister highlighted our priority of fighting COVID-19, as well as several key issues including climate change, trade, NORAD, support for Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor [who are in prison in China], and the Keystone XL project, which the Prime Minister raised in his conversation with the President-elect.

“The Prime Minister and Mr. O’Toole also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as vaccine distribution in Canada.”