OTTAWA - Canada's capital will become Barack Obama's international pulpit Thursday, a friendly platform from which he intends to broadcast his administration's commitment to mending relationships with countries around the world.
White House officials, who briefed reporters Tuesday, say Obama's first foreign visit has the same objective as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's current Asian tour.
"One of the things that the president will be underscoring ... is that it's vitally important that America revitalize its alliances, look for opportunities to use those alliances to advance our shared goals and shared interests - be that in global challenges like Afghanistan, or democracy throughout the hemisphere, or concrete and aggressive efforts to stem global climate change," one official said, on condition of anonymity.
Obama will step off Air Force One on Thursday morning at a government hangar, to be greeted by Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean.
From there he'll proceed to Parliament Hill for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, followed by a working lunch in the elegant Senate speaker's quarters.
Obama's entourage for the lunch is a good indication of the issues he hopes to raise: National Security Adviser Jim Jones, National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers, Energy and Climate Co-ordinator Carol Browner, security adviser John Brennan and Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs will also be close by.
Harper's office did not indicate who it would be bringing along.
The American president will get out his key messages at a news conference in Parliament's Railway Committee room.
Already, Obama and his officials have been extending olive branches on key issues such as energy security and trade.
The federal government and industry leaders have been looking warily at a wave of protectionism south of the border, as well as signals Obama would like to bring in tougher environmental standards on fuel.
On the oil sands, officials said Obama would like to work with Canada on developing carbon capture and storage to deal with the massive emissions coming out of both the American coal and Alberta oil industries.
Such new technologies, which would bury harmful emissions underground, have also been supported about by the Conservative government.
The Obama administration dedicated billions from its economic stimulus package to renewable energy and new green technologies.
"He obviously considers Canada a valuable partner as it relates to energy and energy security, and that's why part of what they're going to be discussing on Thursday is the kind of clean energy technology that is called for in the Canadian recovery package and the president's economic recovery package, things like carbon capture and storage," said one official.
"That will allow us to access abundant resources including coal in this country, and that's the kind of concrete steps he'll want to take."
On trade, Obama will emphasize his administration's commitment to expand it rather than contract it.
"He obviously, given the delicate state of the global economy, wants to make clear to Prime Minister Harper and all our trading partners this is no time for anyone to give the impression that we're interested in less rather than more trade, and that's the message he'll underscore."
The president is interested in re-examining NAFTA in order to include current side agreements on environmental and labour standards, a topic he'll bring up with Harper.
Afghanistan will be another key issue. The House of Commons voted to end the mission in 2011, but there is friendly pressure from Canada's allies to extend the presence.