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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 23, 1995


                            Hanger 11
          Ottawa McDonald-Cartier International Airport
                         Ottawa, Canada

10:59 a.m. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Governor General and Mrs. LeBlanc, Chief of Protocol Lederman, Ambassador and Mrs. Blanchard, Ambassador and Mrs. Chretien, ladies and gentlemen: Je salut nos voisins, nos allies, nos amis. I salute our neighbors, our allies, our friends.

I must say that on this beautiful day I can't help recalling the wonderful visit that Vice President and Mrs. Gore enjoyed here last July. I thank you for the hospitality you showed them, and I also want to tell you what I told the Vice President, Governor General -- the next time I get July and he gets February.

I come to Ottawa to celebrate the vital friendship and the partnership between Canada and the United States and the work to make it even stronger. Our relationship is centered on a shared continent, shared values, shared aspirations, and real respect for our differences. Its very success makes it easy to take for granted, but we must never take it for granted.

In a world in which too many nations still choose conflict over cooperation, and erect barriers instead of bridges, our partnership has been and must ever be a model for others, and the foundation on which to build a common future.

Over the years, our alliance has been enriched by strong leadership from Canada, and I have come to appreciate that firsthand. Prime Minister Chretien possesses and extraordinary breadth of experience in government and a passion for this great nation from Halifax to Vancouver. He has forcefully advanced Canada's interests, fair in settling our differences. He has been a true friend in working with me on the dozens of concerns our countries share.

Our nations have forged the most comprehensive ties of any two nations on Earth. They bind not only our governments, but also our economies, our cultures and our people. From NORAD to NAFTA, Canadians and Americans have seized opportunities to provide for our common security and prosperity. We've tackled tough problems from acid rain and water pollution to differences over beer and grain in the spirit of friendship and in pragmatism.

We've grown so close that some Americans find it uncomfortable that your Blue Jays have won the last two World Series. We hope and we believe they will not be the last World Series, and we were grateful for a little equal time when our Rangers got bragging rights to the Stanley Cup.

This week we'll focus on commerce between our countries, which last year exceeded $270 billion. It is the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world. It supports millions of good jobs and, thanks to NAFTA, it's growing by more than 10 percent every year. It sends a powerful message around the world that open markets can be the key to greater prosperity. Now to take greater advantage of the opportunities free trade offers our people, we'll sign a new aviation agreement that makes it easier for passengers and cargo to travel between our countries.

The work we're doing to better the lives of people within our borders will also benefit from our leadership beyond our borders. From making peace in the Middle East to restoring democracy and keeping the peace in Haiti, we are working together to spread freedom and tolerance and civility. From expanding NATO to revitalizing the G-7, which Canada will host in Halifax this June, we are preparing the world's major organizations to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

At a time when some tell us to retreat from our problems abroad rather than to reach out to make the world more peaceful and more prosperous, Canada's strong internationalist tradition is an inspiration to those of us in America and to countries around the world.

Addressing your parliament 50 years ago, President Truman declared that the success of the U.S.-Canadian relationship was due to "one part proximity, and nine parts goodwill and common sense." Goodwill and common sense remain the foundation of our friendship. This week we will go forward to strengthen it -- a friendship in which all of us take real and just pride, and from which all of us draw strength and for which all of us -- Canadians and Americans -- should be very, very grateful.

Thank you. (Applause.)

END 11:02 a.m. EST