with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
White House Colonnade
September 24, 2001
12:00 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: It's my honor to welcome our close friend, Jean Chretien, to
the White House again. Thank you for coming.
You know, after this terrible incident on September 11th, one of the first phone
calls I received was from the Prime Minister, offering all his support and condolences
to the United States and our citizens. It was like getting a phone call from
a brother. And I appreciate that so very much.
We've got a great partner in our neighborhood who understands what I know, that
we are facing a new type of war. And those of us who love freedom, like the
Canadians love freedom, now understand that freedom is under attack. And we've
combined together to fight -- to fight against a new enemy. And the Prime Minister
We had a great discussion about a variety of issues. We discussed the need for
us to continue to work peacefully along a huge border. Border relations between
Canada and Mexico have never been better. And there is no doubt in my mind that
the Prime Minister and the Canadian people will work hard to make sure that
Canada is secure from any terrorist activity that takes place, just like I can
assure the Prime Minister we're doing the same. We both have a mutual responsibility
in our hemisphere to find and disrupt terrorist organizations.
An amazing thing came up the other day. Somebody said to me, well, you know,
in your speech to Congress, there were some that took affront in Canada because
I didn't mention the name. I didn't necessarily think it was important to praise
a brother; after all, we're talking about family.
There should be no doubt in anybody's mind about how honored we are to have
the support of the Canadians, and how strong the Canadian Prime Minister has
been. And not only his condolences, but his offer of support for the American
people. I guess there's -- somebody is playing politics with you, Mr. Prime
But I suggest those who try to play politics with my words and drive wedges
between Canada and me, understand that at this time, when nations are under
attack, now is not the time for politics. Now is the time to develop a strategy
to fight and win the war. And Mr. Prime Minister, I want to thank you for being
here to continue those efforts with me.
PRIME MINISTER CHRÉTIEN: Thank you, Mr. President. And I am happy to
be with you. I think that, as you say, we're part of -- not America, we're your
neighbor, friends and family. And we have to work together. This problem of
terrorism is a problem that concerns all the nations of the world. And we're
working together to build a coalition that will defeat that, because it will
disrupt the societies around the world. And I think that you know you have the
support of Canadians. When you will need us, we will be there.
We had a very good discussion this morning on the element of the solutions and
we will carry on during the lunch time. I guess that the Canadians were traumatized
by what happened two weeks ago. And we had the occasion to receive 45,000 Americans
on the Canadian soil who had to be diverted to Canada. And we had a great demonstration
of support when 100,000 Canadians appeared on the hill to offer support to our
neighbor and friends and family, the Americans.
So we will work together. We will have occasion to carry this message that we
have to be together, because Canada participates in the meeting of the Commonwealth
next -- 10 days from now, in Australia. And later on, there will be the meeting
of the Francophone in Lebanon, where, again, we'll have to talk to all the leaders
and tell them that we're all in that fight.