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PMO shares cool call with O'Toole before they talk

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 27 Nov, 2020
  • PMO shares cool call with O'Toole before they talk

A spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his office accidentally sent out an account of a phone call with Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole that hadn't happened yet.

The premature account of the call today says Trudeau chided O'Toole about Conservative MPs downplaying the deaths of Albertans and comparing the novel coronavirus to the flu.

Alberta MP Rachael Harder shared a newspaper column on her Facebook page this week that pointed out provincial statistics saying that just 10 of 369 Albertans who had died of COVID-19 as of mid-November were otherwise healthy, and Ontario MP Dean Allison described COVID-19 as "influenza" in a talk-radio interview.

O'Toole, meanwhile, went into the conversation with Trudeau with proposals for how Canada could improve its relationship with the United States under president-elect Joe Biden.

In a letter to Trudeau, the Tory leader says responding to the COVID-19 pandemic must be the first priority, including ensuring a continent-wide response to vaccine supply, the production of personal protective equipment and managing the border.

O'Toole says after that must come dealing with the threat posed by China, and Canada should seek to join an existing dialogue among the U.S., Australia, India and Japan to oppose Chinese military expansionism.

The letter also talks about the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that outgoing President Donald Trump approved but Biden opposes. O'Toole says it must be made clear to Biden the project is important to Canada's view of the bilateral relationship with the U.S.

The letter also cites a need for a collective effort on combating climate change, and a call to modernize the binational defence agreement known as Norad, which would include having Canada join the ballistic missile defence program.

A copy of O'Toole's letter to Trudeau was obtained by The Canadian Press.

"This period of transition to the incoming Biden administration represents a unique opportunity to advance Canada's interests and values on the world stage," O'Toole writes in the letter.

"It is my sincere hope the Canadian and U.S. governments can work together for the mutual benefit of both our peoples who have endured so much this past year."

 

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