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Canada says Biden victory 'good news', hoping for a smooth transition - foreign minister

OTTAWA, Nov 8 (Reuters) - President-elect Joe Biden’s U.S. election victory is good news for Canada, Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne said on Sunday, adding that he hopes there will be a smooth transition of power.

“This is good news and we’ll be able to work very well with the administration,” Champagne said on Biden’s victory in an interview broadcast on CTV, saying that the two countries could collaborate to fight COVID-19 and climate change.

Biden will not be inaugurated until Jan. 20, and President Donald Trump has refused to concede, pledging to move forward with a legal strategy that he hopes will overturn state results that gave Biden the win.

“I’d say the American people have spoken at this point in time. We certainly hope for a smooth transition,” Champagne responded in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.(CBC) when asked about Trump’s refusal to concede.

“We’re going to be following the situation very carefully. But at the same time, we’re planning for the new administration,” he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was one of the first world leaders to tweet his congratulations to the president-elect on Saturday. Ottawa has struggled at times with Trump, who has called Trudeau “very dishonest and weak” and threatened to scrap a continental trade deal vital to Canada’s economy.

Champagne also said Canada would reach out to the Biden administration to try to save TC Energy Corp’s Keystone XL (KXL) oil pipeline, which would carry oil to the United States from Canada. Biden’s campaign has said he would rescind the project’s presidential permit.

“This is top of the agenda. We’re going to be making our case, saying that Canada is the most reliable energy supplier to the United States,” Champagne told the CBC. (Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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