United States Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson visited the Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University on Thursday, June 9, as part of a West Coast tour. Ambassador Jacobson spoke to a group of 40 WWU students and faculty and to a group of Bellingham community leaders that included Mayor Dan Pike. Jacobson also was briefed about recent policy studies conducted by the Border Policy Research Institute dealing with the Canada-U.S. border.
During his presentation, Jacobson highlighted the special relationship between the United States and Canada and noted the shared set of values held in common by both countries. He said that the two nations should together seek common ways to further project those values around the world. He discussed issues relating to the border and the efforts underway by the Obama Administration and the Government of Canada to work together through the newly created “Beyond the Border Working Group” to enhance cooperative security efforts while streamlining the flow of legitimate travelers and goods moving between the two countries. The ambassador also emphasized the importance of the strong economic ties between the two nations and the massive trade between Washington and Canada. He noted that Americans share a special affinity for Canada, citing annual surveys showing that American citizens routinely ranked Canada as the foreign country held in the highest regard.
The ambassador’s remarks were followed by a lively question and answer session with students and professors. This was not the first visit by a high level diplomat to the Center for Canadian-American Studies on the Western campus, noted Director Don Alper. The center, located in Canada House, played host to Canadian ambassadors in 1980 and 2001, as well as numerous consuls general over the years. Thursday’s visit by the American ambassador was particularly special, Alper said, because it marks the first time ever that the U.S. Ambassador to Canada has paid Western a visit.
More photos of the event are available online from the US Embassy Ottawa.