Canada's Trudeau to get red carpet treatment during White House visit

Tue Dec 8, 2015 7:59pm EST
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By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will roll out the red carpet for a planned visit next year by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, hosting a formal state dinner for the new leader, the White House said on Tuesday.

Obama and Trudeau met for the first time in Manila at a summit last month, and discussed a bilateral meeting at the White House early in 2016.

But the meeting will also include the pomp and pageantry of a state dinner, a lavish honor that the Obama White House has extended to only a small, select group of world leaders who have come to Washington.

The White House has not yet announced a date for the dinner.

Trudeau vowed to put a priority on improving Canada's relationship with its neighbor after ties were strained over energy and climate issues during the tenure of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whom he defeated in October.

The last White House state dinner for a Canadian leader was in 1997, when President Bill Clinton hosted Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

Trudeau's father, Pierre Trudeau, was invited to two White House state dinners during his time as prime minister - by President Gerald Ford in 1974 and by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie