Leo Varadkar and Justin Trudeau take part in Montreal Pride Parade

image source, EPA
image captionThe two leaders took part in the Montreal Pride Parade

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar began his three-day visit to Canada by taking part in the Montreal Pride Parade.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Ireland's first gay PM, attended Sunday's event with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau.

The leaders also held talks, where they discussed a range of issues, including Brexit and abortion.

Mr Varadkar and Mr Trudeau met for the first time when the Canadian prime minister visited Ireland in July.

Mr Trudeau said the taoiseach was the first foreign leader to take part in a pride event in Canada.

image source, Reuters
image captionJustin Trudeau, who is known for his flamboyant footwear, wore Canadian-themed socks for Leo Varadkar's visit

Speaking at a joint news conference after the bilateral talks, Mr Varadkar said he discussed the issue of abortion with Mr Trudeau. He stated that he wanted to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment in the first half of next year.

The Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution was passed in 1983 and granted a foetus equal right to life as its mother, effectively outlawing abortion.

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Mr Trudeau said he shared his perspective with the taoiseach that reproductive rights were human rights.

The taoiseach also said that the invitation to US President Donald Trump to visit Ireland still stood and that he intended to visit the White House next year for St Patrick's Day.

Mr Varadkar said Ireland and the US have a long-standing bilateral relationship much greater than any president, taoiseach or government and it was important that was maintained.

He added that true friends must be able to speak truth to each other and that cannot be done by ignoring each other.

Trade between Ireland and Canada is currently 2.5bn euros (£2.3bn) annually and the leaders talked about current agreements and improving trade relations ahead of Brexit.

Mr Varadkar will leave for Toronto later on Sunday where he will meet with business and tourism leaders, and attend a reception with the Irish community in the city.

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