US & Canada

Joe Biden: World needs Canada 'very badly'

Biden and Trudeau Image copyright AP
Image caption "I remember when I was eye candy", Mr Biden joked about Trudeau's looks

US Vice-President Joe Biden told an audience in Ottawa that the world needs "genuine leaders" such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The outgoing vice-president spoke during a state dinner and took the opportunity to praise America's northern neighbour.

"The world is going to spend a lot of time looking to you, Mr Prime Minister", he told the Canadian leader.

Mr Biden has been highly critical of US President-elect Donald Trump.

"Vive le Canada because we need you very, very badly," he told the dinner guests.

He went on to describe the self-doubt that liberal leaders across the world are currently experiencing after several political defeats.

But he praised "genuine leaders" including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying such statesmen and women are in short supply.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Biden's plane arrived in Ottawa during a snowstorm
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Biden is on a two-day visit to Canada

Mr Trudeau reportedly became emotional during Mr Biden's remarks when the American spoke of his late father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

"You're a successful father when your children turn out better than you," Mr Biden said.

This is the second state dinner shared by the two North American nations this year.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption "Here in America, you may well be the most popular Canadian named Justin", Mr Obama joked earlier this year

President Barack Obama hosted Prime Minister Trudeau at the White House in March and later in the summer visited Canada to give a speech in parliament.

Canadian officials say the visit is not about "specific policy", but rather "an opportunity to show the depth of the relationship", said Kate Purchase, Mr Trudeau's director of communications.

The dinner ensures "that there is continuity in the relationship" with the new American administration, she added.

Experts say Mr Biden will seek to assure Canadians that the US-Canada relationship will remain strong during President-elect Donald Trump's presidency.

On Friday Mr Biden is meeting with Canada's provincial premiers and indigenous leaders to discuss climate change.

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