A delegation of seven Canadian premiers (provincial governors) completed a three-day visit to Washington DC yesterday where they met with U.S. lawmakers, cabinet officials and public policy professionals. According to the Canadian press, the highlight of the mission was the premiers’ participation, for the first time, in the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, which led to discussions with 20 U.S. governors on issues ranging from environmental protection to energy.
The premiers of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island also met with high-level Obama administration officials including the president’s economic advisor Larry Summers, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The cordial tone of the meetings was a stark contrast to the events unfolding in Vancouver, where the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team defeated the Canadians 5-3 on Sunday. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour boasted about the countries’ relationship saying, “the Canadians are not just our closest neighbors, they’re our best friends…It’s breathtaking; what a wonderful relationship.” Pennsylvania’s Edward Rendell even burst out singing Canada’s national anthem at a press conference. Before proceeding to crone an almost-accurate rendition of O Canada he said, “I’ve turned what I think are the best lyrics into one verse. I can’t sing; I sound like a sick squirrel, but I will try my best.”