Remarks With Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland Before Their Meeting

Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
Secretary's Outer Office
Washington, DC
August 16, 2017


FOREIGN MINISTER FREELAND: It’s great to be here, Secretary.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Welcome. I want to welcome Minister Freeland again to the State Department, and this is a continuation of a number of opportunities to meet here and around the world; most recently we were together in Manila, the Philippines, just about a week or so ago. This is just an extraordinarily strong relationship between the U.S. and Canada, built on strong security, economic values, and shared values around freedom and tolerance. And I think that’s why it’s appropriate to comment on the recent events in Virginia and our condemnation of that kind of hate and violence. There is just simply no place for that in our public discourse. And I want to add our own condemnation to that.

But again, welcome, Minister Freeland, to the State Department.

FOREIGN MINISTER FREELAND: Okay. Well, thank you very much, Secretary. And as Rex says, it’s barely a week since we last saw each other. I think we were both a little more jetlagged then. It is great to be here, and I’m particularly grateful for the chance to see the Secretary of State today, which is the historic day that we begin our modernization process for NAFTA. In my view, the Secretary knows more about Canada than many Canadians, and we consider him a really great friend of our country and someone who really understands the economic relationship.

And I do want to say to the Secretary and to all Americans, just to offer Canada’s deepest sympathy and condolences for the tragedy in Charlottesville. We absolutely share those values that the Secretary just expressed, and we are absolutely clear in the – unequivocal in our condemnation of racist hatred. And I also want to say Canada is not immune to these kinds of atrocious crimes. We had a dreadful incident in Quebec City not too long ago.

So it’s really terrible. It’s important for us to speak up publicly and condemn it, as we’ve done, and I want Americans to know that we stand in solidarity with all Americans who are condemning this horrible hatred and racism and intolerance. And let’s get through it together.

SECRETARY TILLERSON: Indeed. Again, welcome.