Last week, President Bush made his first official visit
to Canada — in his second term. (A planned official visit last year was
canceled when Canada failed to support the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.) Previous
American presidents have put the U.S.’s northern neighbor and largest trading
partner at the top of their must-visit list:
Bill Clinton, elected in 1992, made his first official visit to
Canada in 1995. He also visited more than any other U.S. president — five times
— and played rounds of golf with then–Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
George H.W. Bush made Canada the first foreign country he visited,
in February 1989, his first year in office.
Ronald Reagan also made Canada his first official visit to a foreign
country, in March 1981, in his first year as president. At a Quebec City
gala in 1985, Reagan sang a duet of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”
with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Official presidential visits have traditionally included a speech
to the Canadian Parliament, but Bush declined to do so.
“This is the first time in living memory that a U.S. president
has visited the capital without addressing Parliament.” (Vancouver Sun)