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Canada’s New Prime Minister Receives Warm Welcome at White House Dinner

President Obama turned the page on years of shaky ties with Canada by staging a lavish welcome for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama await the arrival of Canada's prime minister and his wife at the White House in Washington on March 10, 2016. JOSHUA ROBERTS / Reuters

President Obama and the first lady greet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau before a state dinner at the White House.

Trudeau, 44, the left-leaning Liberal Party leader and son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, took power last November. He already enjoys a closer bond with the Democratic president than his right-of-center predecessor, Stephen Harper of the Conservatives, managed in more than six years of dealing with the Obama administration.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP - Getty Images

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau as they arrive for a state dinner at the White House.

"He campaigned on a message of hope and of change. His positive and optimistic vision is inspiring young people," Obama said after meeting with Trudeau in the Oval Office.

"So, from my perspective, what's not to like?" he added, also noting Trudeau's commitment to the environment.

JOSHUA ROBERTS / Reuters

First lady Michelle Obama and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau walk through the White House as they follow their husbands to the State Dinner.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

President Obama speaks during the State Dinner.

Keeping good relations with the United States is critical for Canada, which sends 75 percent of its exports to its southern neighbor.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP - Getty Images

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toasts President Obama.

Obama struck a warm, informal tone from the start and told Trudeau at a state dinner he "may well be the most popular Canadian named Justin." Singer Justin Bieber is from Canada.

JOSHUA ROBERTS / Reuters
Canadian-American Actor Michael J. Fox, first lady Michelle Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and others clap during the dinner. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP - Getty Images
Prime Minister Trudeau toasts as President Obama and Sophie Trudeau look on. Olivier Douliery / Pool via Getty Images