It appears the Biden and Trudeau governments are seeing many issues through a similar lense so far, especially when it comes to fighting climate change, enabling diversity, and a belief in science.
Tuesday morning, Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Marie-Claude Bibeau and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack met virtually, to discuss the importance of the two countries’ relationship in their first official meeting.
After just over a month, the Trudeau and Biden governments have found much common ground in the battle to fight climate change including working on a North American climate strategy.
Shortly after the meeting, Minister Bibeau tweeted that she had a “great first discussion with my new American counterpart Secretary Vilsack.”
Great 1st discussion with my new ?? counterpart @SecVilsack.
We will collaborate on many mutual priorities so that #Ag takes a leading role in a recovery that
– is inclusive & sustainable
– protects workers
– supports jobs & businesses
– founded on rules- & science-based trade pic.twitter.com/HktKGkIfiX
— Marie-Claude Bibeau (@mclaudebibeau) March 2, 2021
Secretary Vilsack retweeted a response to Bibeau, indicating that the meeting was positive
Thank you @mclaudebibeau for the productive meeting. I look forward to working with you on climate smart food and forestry practices and delivering science-based solutions to help mitigate and reduce climate change. https://t.co/Upkegc6PZh
— Secretary Tom Vilsack (@SecVilsack) March 2, 2021
Earlier this week Secretary Vilsack stated that he would lead a very “active and proactive USDA” and would be pushing to hold Canada and Mexico “to the letter” on the USMCA agreement. Two of the key issues from the U.S. side are Canada’s implementation of the dairy tariff rate quotas and changes to how U.S. wheat is graded. There is also concern within Canada that the Biden administration may attempt another run into mandatory country of origin labelling.
It is unclear whether Bibeau and Vilsack discussed these more contentious issues in the meeting.
Although this a fresh relationship between the two political leaders, these two roles are no strangers to good working relationships. Vilsack previously had strong working relationships with Gerry Ritz and Lawrence MacAulay. Sonny Perdue routinely enjoyed friendly chats amid tumultuous trade negotiations, and Bibeau and Perdue had no public showcases of negative discourse.
Vilsack also recently met with the Mexican Secretary of Agriculture, Victor Villalobos to discuss “better production and food security.”