Wall with Canada? White House spokesman, media share a laugh over question

Spicer laughs off notion of Great Wall North

WASHINGTON — White House spokesman Sean Spicer laughed off the idea of building a wall along the northern U.S. border Thursday after a journalist from Montana floated the notion during his daily media briefing.

Spicer and the assembled reporters had to guffaw when the NBC News reporter, taking part via video link, asked whether there were plans to apply to Canada the same treatment U.S. President Donald Trump has directed at Mexico.

One million travellers a year cross the border into Montana, she said, adding, “What are the administration’s plans to increase security on the Canadian border and does the administration have any plans to build a wall there?”

Cue the chuckles in the White House briefing room.

The timing of the question carried some irony. News stories in recent days have been about people fleeing the other way — migrants leaving the United States on foot and taking unofficial routes to cross into Canada.

It also came after a phone call Thursday between Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where the border was one topic. It was the fourth conversation between the two since the Nov. 8 election, and the third by phone.

Statements from both countries saluted their meeting last week in Washington.

They were vague about what got discussed regarding the border, and whether the leaders mentioned the migrant situation. The Canadian statement merely mentioned the border, in passing, as a conversation topic.

“President Trump emphasized the importance of working closely with Canada on cross-border issues, including implementation of his administration’s actions to protect America from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals and others,” said the White House statement. 

“The two leaders noted their desire to continue building on the countries’ deep partnership, which has been strengthened by their meeting on Feb. 13.”

They also discussed softwood lumber negotiations, which have languished for months without a resolution. They also talked about working on the Canada-U.S. women’s business group they created with Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

Trump himself described that initiative as “very important” to him during a news conference last week.

One thing they likely didn’t discuss: the U.S. building a wall with Canada. Trump has twice brushed off the idea in the past, and his spokesman, after an initial laugh with the White House press corps, avoided directly answering the question.

“I think the president understands our southern border is where we have more of a concern in terms of the number of people and the type of activity that’s coming over there — in terms of the cartels, the drug activity,” Spicer said.

“But that doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention to our northern border as well. We will continue to monitor and take steps necessary at our northern border to ensure the safety of all Americans.”

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is to travel to Washington next week to meet with his American counterpart Steven Mnuchin.  Morneau tweeted Thursday evening that he had a productive phone conversation with the American Treasury Secretary and the two men decided to meet face-to-face for the first time on March 1.


Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Big Reds a big hit at Big White

More than 600 people turned out on the weekend for annual red wine festival

RCMP hunt for suspect in West Kelowna bank robbery

Suspect used a note and fled bank Saturday with an undisclosed amount of cash

Community Leader Awards: Shelley Pacholok

The Kelowna Capital News honours those who give back in the community

International Arts Festival returns to Kelowna

Living Things is a month-long festival with live performances by artists from around the world

Legion bell prank hits sour note

Anger erupts after Summerland Legion member removes bell from Peachland Legion

Someone dreaming of a bicycle for Christmas?

From toddlers to youth, PDSCL has something for everyone.

Vehicle with dog inside stolen from Oliver gas station

A black Honda CRV was stolen from the Oliver Chevron early Sunday morning

Team Canada loses 5-2 over the Czech Republic at World Junior A Challenge

Vees’ Tychonick drops in one of Team Canada West’s pair of goals

B.C. actress’s role in Wonder brings perspective to the topic of bullying

Crystal Lowe plays bully’s mother in the Hollywood movie

Letter: West Kelowna needs more seats on school board

If anyone thinks board reflects the Central Okanagan community their competency should be questioned

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

PIGS bring Pink Floyd sound to Kelowna

Victoria band pays tribute to iconic British band on Feb. 10 at Mary Irwin Theatre

Letter: Another flagger dies; when will you slow down?

You have all seen our signs, trucks and my favorite our cones. Why don’t you slow down?

Most Read