John Kerry on John Baird, Keystone XL and hockey

Highlights of today's meeting between John Baird and John Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry, right, speaks with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird at the State Department in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

The newly minted Secretary of State, John Kerry, met with foreign affairs minister John Baird today. They held a joint press conference at the State Department in Washington, Here are a few highlights:

Kerry on Baird:

“He was one of the first calls that I made after I officially came into the building and started and was sworn in, and he is my first guest as foreign minister.”

Kerry on their discussion:

“We dove right into the toughest issues… we began with hockey. I grew up playing a little big, and since I’m a Bruins fan, we clashed in many ways. But he, from Ottawa, is a fan of the Senators. And I want you to know it’s the first time I’ve ever heard someone talk well of senators, so – I’m grateful for it.”

Kerry on his relations with Canada:

“Today was the first of what I know will be many very productive sessions. And the reason for that is that Canada and the United States share the same values. We have a history and a heritage of our people that is unbelievably connected. We have the same entrepreneurial spirit. We have the same core beliefs that everybody ought to be able to find their place in life to do better.”

Kerry on Canadian energy:

“Canada is the largest foreign energy supplier for the United States of America. And many people in America are not aware of that. They always think of the Mideast or some other part of the world. But Canada is our largest energy supplier, and our shared networks of electrical grids keep energy flowing both ways across the border. As we move forward to meet the needs of a secure, clean energy future on this shared continent, we are going to continue to build on our foundation of co-operation.”

Kerry on trade with Canada:

“We also share something else that’s pretty important: a trillion dollars of bilateral trade relationship, and that is hugely important to both of our countries, to our economies and to our citizens. Canada’s one of the largest, most comprehensive investment relationships that we have in the world. It supports millions of jobs here in the United States. And today the foreign minister and I agreed to try to discuss ways that we can grow that and even make it stronger, and there are ways to do that. Our border with Canada, happily, is not a barrier. It’s really a 5,000-mile-long connection between us.”

Kerry on their conversations regarding violence in Syria:

“The foreign minister and I talked about this at length, at length. We both share a deep concern about what is happen there. I am going to focus on it quite considerably.

Kerry, on being asked by a Canadian reporter to speak un peu de français:

“Not today. I’ve got to refresh myself on that.”

Kerry, on whether Obama’s emphasis on climate change in his inaugural address bodes badly for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline:

“With respect to the Keystone, Secretary Clinton has put in place a very open and transparent process which I am committed to seeing through. I can guarantee you that it will be fair, transparent, and accountable.”

Kerry on when a decision will be made:

“I hope we will be able to be in a position to make an announcement in the near term. I don’t want to pin down exactly when, but I assure you, in the near term. I’m not going to go into the merits of it here today. I pay great respect to the important of the energy relationship with Canada, and the importance of the overall relationship. We have a legitimate process that is underway and I intend to honor that.”

Baird on Keystone XL:

“We had a good discussion with regard to Keystone. We appreciate the secretary’s comments at his confirmation hearings.
We spoke about making a decision based on science and based on facts. Obviously when it comes to the environment, I think we have like-minded objectives. Prime Minister Harper and President Obama have both set a 17% reduction in GHG emissions. We have worked well together on reducing vehicle emissions for cars and light trucks. Canada is aggressively moving forward on our plan to ban and phase out dirty coal-fired electricity generation. And we’ll continue to focus on that. We all share the need for a growing economy to create jobs, we share the desire on energy security in North America, and we also share the objective of protecting the environment for future generations. Those will be areas where we will continue to work together.”

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.