Star Tribune

By Hunter Woodall

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar highlighted the relationship between the United States and Canada last week after meetings of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary group.

The Minnesota Democrat, who according to a news release from her office led the meetings, referred to the group during a Zoom call with reporters as "a fancy name for our best friends and allies to the north."

Nine Canadian legislators joined the trip. Between a reception and the meetings, more than 20 U.S. senators, including Minnesota Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, participated, Klobuchar's office said.

"We spent the day today meeting about issues of mutual agreement, including things like NATO and our support for Ukraine and our continuing strong trading relationship," Klobuchar told reporters Tuesday. "And most importantly for Minnesota, the opening of the border. Because through the pandemic that was really difficult for tourism, especially in northern Minnesota."

Klobuchar is U.S. co-chair of the group, according to her office, along with Idaho GOP U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo.

"The United States and Canada share more than just a border. We share common values and common interests, and we must continue our cooperative efforts across trade, defense and energy issues to keep countering foreign threats," Crapo said in a news release.

Klobuchar's office said the group "was established in 1959 as a forum for U.S. members of Congress and Canadian parliamentarians, and to have an ongoing dialogue on major issues of mutual concern."

Klobuchar was joined on the Zoom call by Canadian co-chairs Sen. Michael MacDonald and John McKay, a member of Parliament.

"The way the world is evolving, our relationship is more important than it ever has been, both economically, socially and militarily," MacDonald said.

McKay said that of "the many issues that we talked about, there wasn't a great deal of distance between the views of the two countries."

"The benefit of meetings such as this is that when there are irritants, we can head them off at the pass and that makes the relationship stronger," he said.

Klobuchar said farming and energy issues were also discussed.

"When you look at our trading bloc and dealing with countries like China, it is really important that North America sticks together with supply chains and with our allies across the world, and that couldn't be more clear than right now," she said.

Klobuchar's office also said that she met in March with elected officials in Ottawa and was on hand for "a state dinner hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in honor of President Joe Biden's visit to Canada."

McKay complimented Minnesota's senior senator during the Zoom call for "getting us all together so that we have fewer problems rather than more."