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“President Obama’s trip to Canada will set the stage for future international climate talks,” the Sierra Club wrote in a memo to reporters, urging Mr. Obama to offer leadership and a change from “dirty, Bush-era energy policy.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Gordon D. Giffin said the quick visit is “a real opportunity to have dialog on energy and environment and to pursue common goals of limiting greenhouse gas emissions.”

Mr. Harper said on CNN he was concerned about the “Buy America” provisions in the $787 billion economic stimulus package Mr. Obama signed into law Tuesday.

“This is a huge risk to the world right now. If there is one thing that could turn a recession into a depression, it is protectionist measures across the world,” Mr. Harper said, adding that he was encouraged Mr. Obama has offered similar concerns.