President Joe Biden plans to have a brief meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s biggest political rival during an official visit to Canada that begins on Thursday, a senior administration official said.
The official said Biden will have a “pull aside” with Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, who was elected last year to spearhead the party’s bid to oust the Liberals and Trudeau. It’s not uncommon for a U.S. president to meet with the opposition leader during visits to Canada.
Biden is also expected to meet and say hello to all the opposition leaders as part of the welcoming ceremony on Thursday.
Biden is making a long-delayed visit to close ally Canada this week to express unity on Ukraine and the environment, but the pair are unlikely to make progress on tougher trade disputes.
Biden will be in Ottawa, the capital, on Thursday and Friday to address Parliament and meet with Trudeau.
U.S. presidents traditionally make their first international trip to Canada, but delays – in part caused by COVID-19 – mean that Biden has already visited almost 20 other nations. He did hold his first bilateral meeting as president with Trudeau, albeit virtually.