Bill Clinton photo

Remarks Welcoming Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada

April 08, 1997

Prime Minister and Mrs. Chretien, members of the Canadian delegation, distinguished guests, it is a great honor and personal pleasure for me to welcome to Washington the Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, leader of a land of great beauty and bounty and a great and good people.

When Hillary and I visited Ottawa in 1995, the Prime Minister and the Canadian people made us feel as if we were family. The personal working relationship I have established with the Prime Minister for nearly 4 years now has made us good friends.

Today we celebrate one of history's most remarkable partnerships, for if nature has made us neighbors, we are friends and allies by choice. The close cooperation between our two nations should be a model for the world in the 21st century. Every day, 250,000 people and nearly $1 billion in trade cross our border. From the snowy Yukon to the shores of eastern Maine, our border does not divide our people; it joins us as partners and friends, with more and better jobs, cleaner air and water, the comforting knowledge that our freedom is jointly guarded and defended. Together we are working to shape the force of change to serve our region and our world, expanding trade throughout the Americas, exploring the mysteries of space, speaking out for freedom, and standing up for peace from Bosnia to Haiti. In a world where suffering too often results because people cannot live with others different from themselves, Canada's compassionate, tolerant society inspires us all with hope.

A Canadian Ambassador to Washington once said that summits between our nations are a time to set the beacon jointly. Under your wise leadership, Mr. Prime Minister, relations between the United States and Canada have never been closer or more constructive. As we stand on the threshold of a new millennium, let us raise our beacon high. Let us build a future of peace and prosperity, of freedom and dignity for our continent and beyond.

Mr. Prime Minister, welcome to the United States.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:22 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House, where Prime Minister Chretien was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors. In his remarks, the President referred to Prime Minister Chretien's wife, Aline.

William J. Clinton, Remarks Welcoming Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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