Trudeau meets with president of Poland at CFB Esquimalt

Trudeau meets at naval base

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continued his visit to Greater Victoria on Saturday, meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda ahead of an upcoming NATO summit.

The two leaders toured a warship at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt and discussed security issues.

Trudeau embraced Duda during a brief photo availability with media. The two largely exchanged pleasantries while media were present.

“I’m very glad we were able to match our calendars again,” Duda said.

Trudeau said he welcomed the opportunity to talk about Indo-Pacific matters, as well as other partnerships and opportunities that Canada can undertake with Poland.

“It’s important to continue to step up and be there wherever it’s needed,” he said shortly after acknowledging Poland’s “leadership role” on matters related to Ukraine.

Duda arrived to CFB Esquimalt via a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter shortly before 11 a.m., followed by his entourage and about a dozen members of the Polish media who have been covering his North American trip.

According to a summary from Duda’s office, the two leaders spoke about Polish-Canadian co-operation, security issues and expectations related to the upcoming NATO summit in Washington, D.C., on July 9-11.

The two also discussed Duda’s recent visits to the United States, the statement said. Duda met with President Joe Biden and members of Congress last month and with former president Donald Trump in New York last week.

During Saturday’s meeting, Duda also reiterated to Trudeau the need to increase defence spending in NATO countries from two to three per cent of the GDP, the statement said.

The prime minister’s office said the two leaders reaffirmed their “unwavering support” for Ukraine as well as their shared commitment toward transatlantic security.

The two leaders discussed Canada’s potential contribution to Poland’s energy security through trade and co-operation in the nuclear and hydrogen sectors, the statement said.

They were also briefed by the Royal Canadian Navy on “opportunities and security challenges” in the Indo-Pacific, it said.

Later in the afternoon, Trudeau and Duda toured HMCS Regina, a frigate based at CFB Esquimalt.

Duda held a news conference for Polish media on the vessel shortly after the tour and thanked Trudeau for recently increasing Canada’s defence spending.

The increased spending is the right trend in the face of growing Russian imperialism and aggression against Ukraine, Duda said in Polish.

Trudeau did not take questions from media at CFB Esquimalt.

Duda’s next stop is Edmonton — home to Canada’s largest Polish community outside of Toronto — where he will meet with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.

Trudeau’s visit to Victoria is his first outside Ottawa since the federal budget was tabled on Tuesday.

On Friday morning, he met with students at the University of Victoria to tout the budget’s funding for science initiatives.

Later that day, he spoke with Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto at city hall on matters of housing, community safety, and infrastructure.

The prime minister is scheduled to be back in Ottawa on Sunday.

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