Trudeau calls Kamala Harris an ‘inspiration’ after groundbreaking U.S. election

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today praised the “historic milestone” marked in the United States by the election of Kamala Harris to the nation’s second-highest office.

During a news conference in Ottawa, Trudeau congratulated Harris and U.S. president-elect Joe Biden and said he looks forward to working with them to address common challenges and opportunities. He said Harris’s win sends an important message.

“For so many people in Canada and around the world, seeing a woman — and a Black and South Asian-American woman — elected as the next vice-president of the United States is an inspiration and a reminder that everyone’s voice belongs in politics,” he said.

Biden defeated Donald Trump to become the 46th U.S. president after securing enough electoral college votes on Saturday. 

His win was declared by U.S. networks after days of uncertainty as election officials counted a record-high number of mail-in ballots. Biden surpassed the necessary 270 electoral college votes with a win in his home state of Pennsylvania, though Trump is contesting some states’ results.

WATCH / Kamala Harris delivers first speech after being declared U.S. VP-elect:

In her first speech as vice-president elect, Kamala Harris’s message that she “will not be the last” woman to hold the office resonated with women in the U.S. and beyond.   3:01

Trudeau expresses ‘confidence’ in U.S. electoral system

Asked if he may have congratulated Biden too soon, Trudeau said Canada can be “quite certain” of the results because of the trust placed in the U.S. officials and institutions tabulating the vote.

“We have confidence in the processes that have operated in the United States,” he said.

Trudeau said he will continue to work with the current Trump administration until Jan. 20, when Biden is sworn in.

Asked about Trump’s refusal to concede defeat, Trudeau said his focus is on defending Canadian interests.

WATCH /  Women react to Harris’s historic win:

Diverse American women describe what it means to them to have Kamala Harris elected as the first female vice president of the United States. 2:37

Other Canadian political leaders also have offered congratulations to Biden and Harris on their victory. 

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul issued a statement today pushing for collaborative action to protect the rights of asylum seekers and tackle climate change.

“In the fight against the climate emergency, Canada should always be seeking to punch above its weight and show leadership in international efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.

Paul urged the leaders of both countries to adopt a carbon tariff scheme on imports from countries with weak environmental records. She also called for a reopening of the Safe Third Country Agreement, which requires asylum seekers to make their asylum claims in the first “safe” country in which they land.

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