Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wraps up his visit to Washington Friday.
For his third and final day in the U.S. capital, he will lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery before joining a group of university students for a question and answer session. Trudeau is also scheduled to meet with the president of the World Bank.
Trudeau and President Barack Obama have gone out of their way to show a close and warm relationship during the visit to Washington.
On Thursday, Trudeau described the president as his friend, while Obama said people were inspired by the prime minister’s message of hope and change. Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion says the friendship between the two leaders is an asset to Canada given the key trading relationship with the U.S.
The two leaders agreed to move forward with a customs pre-clearance experiment that could revolutionize the way Canadians and Americans cross the border. It would apply the model used at some airports to other modes of transportation, allowing travellers to clear customs at train stations in Montreal and Vancouver as part of a pilot project. They also agreed to curb methane emissions as part of a wide-ranging plan on climate change and Arctic protection.
On Thursday night Trudeau and wife Sophie were the guests of honour at a lavish state dinner that included a long list of celebrities, political and business leaders.
President Obama and his wife, Michelle, greeted the Trudeaus at the gala that included Canadian actors Michael J Fox and Ryan Reynolds, along with Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels. Fox says he thinks Trudeau is cool, adding that when he was a kid he thought his father Pierre Trudeau was the “coolest world leader.”
Canadian designers were in the spotlight as there was buzz about what the leaders were wearing at the prestigious state dinner at the White House.
Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau wore a cap-sleeved embroidered purple dress by Toronto designer Lucian Matis as she arrived with Trudea in a tuxedo. First lady Michelle Obama picked a strapless midnight blue floral jacquard gown designed by Vancouver-raised designer Jason Wu.
Trudeau will get the chance to return Obama’s hospitality as the U.S. president is planning to visit Canada in June and address Parliament. He made the promise Thursday as he greeted Trudeau at the White House and it will be the first such event featuring a president since Bill Clinton.
Trudeau’s time in Washington marks the first official visit by a Canadian leader in nearly 20 years.