Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to visit the White House on March 10. This will be the first official visit to the United States by a leader of Canada in almost two decades.
In a White House press call, officials said President Obama and the First Lady are looking forward to welcoming the prime minister. They also said the president and Trudeau have a “developing special relationship,” and stated that they are both young, progressive leaders with similar visions.
Prior to Trudeau’s visit, here is why he is regarded as “Canada’s Obama.”
1. Both are committed to diversity
When Trudeau took office he appointed an equally gendered cabinet—15 men and 15 women. His explanation for his decision was simply: “Because it’s 2015.” He also included two aboriginal members of Parliament and three Sikh politicians.
Last year was also a mark in diversity for the Obama administration. Research showed that President Obama had placed females and minorities in 53.5 percent of important policy positions. He also appointed two women to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, who is also the first Hispanic justice to ever serve on the bench.
2. They care about climate change
Obama, as well as Trudeau, has been outspoken about global warming. The White House said both leaders will have announcements about the issue during the upcoming visit.
The science couldn’t be clearer – we owe it to our kids to do everything we can to combat climate change. pic.twitter.com/497Wkkve58
— President Obama (@POTUS) January 25, 2016
3. They support Syrian refugees
Prime Minister Trudeau took the spotlight in December when he welcomed 160 Syrian refugees at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. So far his administration has taken in 26,166 of them. President Obama also encouraged Americans to embrace the U.S.’s immigration roots by welcoming Syrians, pledging to resettle 10,000 of them. His administration also warned states against closing their doors to refugees fleeing Syria.
Welcome to Canada. pic.twitter.com/xEOn44GjJF
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 11, 2015
4. ‘Change’ was a major theme while they were campaigning
When Trudeau was running for office his campaign emphasized “real change” for Canada, an echo to Obama’s 2008 campaign that featured various slogans with the word “change.”
5. Both leaders took office in their 40’s
Obama was 47-years-old when he was sworn in as president in January 2009, while Trudeau was elected at age 43, making him the second-youngest prime minister to take office in Canada.
The White House said the visit is a testament to the strong relationship between the two countries and emphasized the fact that Canada is the United States’s number-one trade partner. Officials also said that both states have stood side-by-side during issues like the Ebola crisis, the fight against ISIS, sanctions on Russia, and the climate change agreement in Paris.
A ceremony is planned for the prime minister’s arrival at 9:00 a.m. on the South Lawn, followed by a meeting with Obama and members of his cabinet. Trudeau will also attend a luncheon with Secretary John Kerry at the State Department and a state dinner honoring the prime minister and his wife in the evening.