President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau to the White House Thursday morning.

Canada’s State Visit

Trudeau, the young liberal Canadian prime minister, is the honored guest at the White House, along with his wife and three children. Trudeau, who was just elected last fall, is the first Canadian prime minister to receive an official state visit invitation in nearly 20 years. The fast friendship between Trudeau and Obama, however, should come as little surprise, as the two men share many of the same political beliefs.

“From my perspective, what’s not to like?” Obama said of Trudeau’s leadership thus far. He added that Trudeau’s government brings “the right values, enormous energy, enormous commitment and passion to their work and perhaps most importantly, it’s clear that they are keenly interested in engaging Canadian citizens in the process of solving problems. And I think that is how democracies are supposed to work.”

Trudeau, 44, shared similar sentiments when talking about Obama, 54.

“He’s somebody with a big heart, but also a big brain, and for me to be able to count on a friend who has lived through many of the things that I’m about to encounter on the political stage, on the international stage, it’s a great comfort to me,” said Trudeau. “The president and I share a common goal: We want a clean growth economy that continues to provide good jobs and great opportunities for all of our citizens.”

The two heads of state do have one rather significant disagreement – which country has the best hockey.

“Now, I don’t want to gloss over the very real differences between Americans and Canadians. There are some things we will probably never agree on. Whose beer is better? Who’s better at hockey?” Obama joked. “Where’s the Stanley Cup right now? I’m sorry, is it in my hometown, with the Chicago Blackhawks?”

Trudeau could be heard saying off to the side, “Don’t get me started,” while Obama was speaking. When it was his turn at the podium, he got his chance to give a retort. “There’s a high demand for Canadian goods down here. A few that come to mind that President Obama just rightly recognized as being extraordinary contributors to the American success story is Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks,” Trudeau quipped.

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