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‘Beef for Biden’: Alberta favourite featured on dinner menu for presidential visit to Ottawa

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden shared dinner together for the first time Friday evening in Ottawa and a world-renowned Alberta favourite was included on the menu.

Alberta beef braised short rib, served as part of the main course, is receiving approval from the province’s beef producers who were pleased to see their product served to the world leader and first lady Jill Biden.

Cathy Noble, vice-president of the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association, says she’s not surprised Alberta beef was chosen.

“We have a great reputation with Alberta beef, not only amongst Canadians but truly internationally and showcasing it at this dinner just emphasizes the quality and great product we produce not only in Alberta for beef but Canadian beef across the board,” she said.

“I think that Canadians and our global partners know we're raising that beef in a sustainable way, that's putting animal welfare first and ensuring the end product is good for the individuals enjoying the beef, as well as for the environment.”

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT STILL NEEDED

Chair of Alberta Beef Producers, Brodie Haugan added that his team was excited when they first saw the menu.

“Alberta beef is a highly recognizable product and superior product on an international stage so I hope President Biden enjoyed his meal as well as the many Canadian products that were on the plate,” he said.

Haugan added however that some additional support from Ottawa is still needed for beef producers in the form of identifying additional grassland areas for cattle.

One of the best ways to manage grasslands is to keep cattle on land because cattle graze and they do a wonderful job managing this resource.”

“The best way to keep cattle on the landscape is to ensure an economically viable industry and the way to keep it economically viable is to ensure strong business management programs that adequately mitigate risk but also keep these operations viable for the long term.”

Nate Horner, Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation also provided the following statement to CTV News.

“Alberta farmers and ranchers work hard every day to produce high-quality beef, and it is an honour to have it recognized and enjoyed at such a high level.”

Friday’s meal hosted by Trudeau and his wife Sophie-Gregoire Trudeau was held at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.

The meal, put together by executive chef Kenton Leier and a catering team from the National Arts Centre also featured ingredients such as East Coast yellowfish tuna, flaxseed, Quebec maple syrup and Yukon gold potatoes.

The three courses included a cabernet sauvignon jus made with wine from Pelee Island Winery in Kingsville, Ont., and a rum caramel made of Newfoundland’s famous Screech rum.

CTV News has reached out to the Prime Minister's Office as well as Leier to ask where the Alberta beef was sourced from, but a response has not yet been received.

POLITICAL SCIENTIST: OTTAWA WORKING ON COOPERATIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH ALBERTA

Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams said Alberta beef featured on the menu during a world leader visit highlights Ottawa’s effort to work with Alberta collaboratively on some files at least.

“Obviously, premiers across the country benefit from advocating for their provinces interests with the federal government collaborating with other provinces to try to advance those interests,” said Williams.

“But it also helps to work with the federal government on a number of files, including exporting some of the goods that come out of Canada, in this case, agricultural goods.”

Mount Royal University political science professor Lori Williams

Williams adds that there are also other benefits that Ottawa can potentially improve with Alberta including child care or dental programs, but that the balance can be tricky to strike as tensions between the federal and provincial government continue.

This upcoming week also marks a significant battle for Alberta as the federal government is asking the Supreme Court to overrule an Alberta Court of Appeal opinion that declared Bill C-69 unconstitutional.

The legislation, often referred to as the ‘no-pipelines law’ was adopted to “establish a federal environmental assessment process to safeguard against adverse environmental effects in relation to matters within federal jurisdiction,” the attorney general of Canada stated in written legal arguments to the Supreme Court. 

Williams says this Bill is difficult for Alberta’s industry to manage, but not much will likely be solved.

“I think we're going to see a bit of an ambivalent decision on the part of the Supreme Court of Canada, it won't be a win for Alberta, but there will be room for negotiations,” she said.

“If the case is deemed lost by Alberta, that puts Danielle Smith in a tough position too because she said she will respect the results of any court decisions in the Supreme Court of Canada.”

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