Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
My name is Michael Grant. I'm the assistant deputy minister of the Americas. I'll be giving the opening remarks. I'm joined by my colleague Steve Verheul, the assistant deputy minister for trade policy.
I would like to begin by acknowledging that I'm speaking to you today from the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people.
As members of this special committee will already know, Canada and the United States have long enjoyed a special relationship. Our two countries enjoy the largest trading relationship in the world. We defend and protect North America together. We are stewards of our shared environment. We stand on the world stage to respond to pressing global challenges together.
Mr. Chair, these are not merely words. We’ve just committed to revitalizing and expanding our ties with the United States in order to realize our relationship’s full potential.
Last week, the Prime Minister and President Joe Biden announced the roadmap for a renewed United States-Canada partnership. It's a blueprint for an ambitious and whole-of-government effort against the COVID-19 pandemic and in support of our mutual prosperity. It creates a partnership on climate change; advances global health security; bolsters co-operation on defence and security; and reaffirms a shared commitment to diversity, equity and justice.
The government has quickly started implementing the roadmap through virtual meetings and calls between our two countries. In addition to phone calls and the meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau, the president and the Deputy Prime Minister, we saw Minister Garneau, Minister Wilkinson and Minister Alghabra speak with their counterparts last week. We expect more discussions in the coming weeks.
Allow me, Mr. Chair, to briefly touch on a few priority themes in the Canada-U.S. relationship.
Foremost, our leaders have agreed that both countries' fundamental priority is to end the global pandemic. The spread of COVID-19 has caused upheaval in both Canada and the United States.
Consider last March. Canada and the United States arrived at a far-reaching agreement to limit discretionary and recreational travel across the border, an understanding that has been extended by mutual agreement. This collaboration set the tone for subsequent co-operation, including in getting our citizens home, ensuring continued operation of our supply chains, and assisting each other in the production and procurement of medical supplies and other essential goods.
Our work together in managing the flow of goods amid the pandemic is just one facet of the deeply interconnected economic relationship between Canada and the United States. This enduring trade relationship has been a model of success for the world for many years, starting with the Canada-U.S. FTA in 1989, continuing with NAFTA in 1994 and culminating today in the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA.
Of course, we have more work to do, guided by the new road map. For example, Canada and the United States will build a strategy to strengthen supply chain security and will also accelerate joint initiatives to support the recovery of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The government also recognizes the critical role that energy plays in our trading relationship. Canada is the United States' number one foreign supplier of all forms of energy, including crude oil, natural gas, hydroelectricity and uranium. The secure and affordable energy is sustainably produced. Energy underpins our exports. It supports the economy, jobs and competitiveness on both sides of the border. It provides energy security and resiliency to North America.
In the new roadmap, our two countries have recognized this. We've also agreed on the importance of our highly integrated energy infrastructure. Completing new and expanded energy infrastructure will fuel our economies and provide clean and renewable energy.
Supporting Line 5's continued operation remains a top priority, now and in the future, through Enbridge's tunnel project. We work tirelessly, through Canada's diplomatic network in the United States, to promote and strengthen the energy relationship and support projects like Line 5.
Energy security is just one important factor in our region's overall safety and security. Canada and the United States collaborate closely on defence, both at home and abroad. Collective security is a shared responsibility. Canadians and Americans have depended on each other for decades. Looking ahead, we will be expanding our co-operation on continental defence and in the Arctic, including by modernizing the North American Aerospace Defense Command and launching an expanded U.S.-Canada Arctic dialogue.
A further element that unites us is our shared natural environment. Canada and the U.S. share many waterways that mark or cross our shared border, from the Great Lakes to rivers such as the mighty St. Lawrence. Moving forward under the new road map, we will do more, such as launching a high-level climate ministerial to increase our climate ambitions aligned to the Paris Agreement and net-zero objectives while holding polluters accountable for their actions.
In launching the new roadmap for a renewed United States-Canada partnership, our leaders said it best in their joint statement: “the partnership between the United States and Canada endures because we invest in each other's success.”
Canada welcomes the roadmap as a way to revitalize and expand its ties with the United States as we continue to work closely as partners, friends, allies and neighbours.