He’s in town for two days for the annual Microsoft CEO Summit. He’ll also be meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee in Seattle to talk about Northwest issues.

Share story

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to arrive in Redmond on Wednesday to attend the secretive Microsoft CEO Summit.

That visit will be followed by a Thursday stop in downtown Seattle at 9 a.m. to talk about high-speed rail and Northwest issues with Gov. Jay Inslee.

Traffic delays are likely, given that Microsoft’s Overlake campus sits next to busy Highway 520.

But delays should be shorter than during a U.S. presidential visit, or that of Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015, when sections of Interstate 5 were blocked for more than two hours.

The annual Microsoft event, described as “highly conversational,” will draw more than 175 executives from 35 nations, the company says.

It is closed to the public.

Microsoft says two themes will be improving cybersecurity, including encryption, email protection, international-data movement and privacy regulations, and the race to space, both private and public.

Trudeau’s official Wednesday itinerary, released online Tuesday, says that he will fly from Montreal to the Seattle area midday to arrive about 3 p.m., and that he will give a 4:30 p.m. speech at the Microsoft summit.

Thursday’s meeting with Inslee will be at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel on Madison Street downtown, an updated itinerary says. That suggests at least one drive will happen Wednesday evening or early Thursday across a floating bridge.

The Washington State Patrol will be involved but hasn’t yet heard specific routes, which are kept confidential by the U.S. Secret Service for security reasons, said Trooper Rick Johnson, a spokesman in Bellevue. The Washington State Department of Transportation also says it’s heard of no itinerary yet.

Highways can be blocked for 10 minutes, as happened during last year’s trip by Vice President Joe Biden to South Lake Union, or two hours, as in a 2015 morning trip from Paine Field to Seattle by Chinese President Xi Jinping, when the Secret Service and law enforcement blocked parts of I-5 more than an hour early.

Street delays in downtown Seattle should be brief, because Trudeau’s entourage should by tiny compared to the 1,000 people in dozens of vehicles who accompanied Xi, predicts Norm Mah, spokesman for the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Trudeau has been touting his “Innovation and Skills Plan” that includes encouraging entrepreneurs and says he also seeks greater investment in Canada’s technology sector.

Canadian trade with Washington state totaled $19.8 billion last year, sustaining 223,300 state jobs, according to Trudeau’s website. The Vancouver, B.C., area is also a competitor for tech talent that Microsoft and other companies recruit worldwide.

Trudeau requested the meeting with Inslee, according to the governor’s staff.

“Prime Minister Trudeau will emphasize that Canada and the United States enjoy the longest, most peaceful, and mutually beneficial relationship of any two countries in the world,” Trudeau spokeswoman Eleanore Catalano said Tuesday.

Trade, immigration and climate change will be discussed, Inslee’s office said.

“Gov. Inslee would also like to discuss the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, which may include ultra-high-speed rail throughout the Pacific Northwest. He has previously discussed it with B.C. Premier (Christy) Clark, and she has endorsed it,” said Inslee spokeswoman Tara Lee.

Washington state’s latest transportation budget includes $300,000 for preliminary studies of a 250-mph train connecting Vancouver, B.C., and Seattle.

It’s unclear whether Inslee will bring up the planned Trans Mountain oil-export pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia coast, which Trudeau has approved.

Pipeline construction would create an estimated 2,500 jobs in B.C., while environmentalists and First Nations object that increased tanker traffic and oil-spill risk would threaten orca whales. Inslee was encouraged last year by Friends of the Earth to oppose the oil terminal, said the group’s consultant, Fred Felleman.

“The fact of the matter is, this is a federal-government issue,” Felleman said. The group is asking Inslee to help create a two-nation Harbor Safety Committee, to include tribes and the public, to oversee maritime safety as well as oil-spill prevention.

The governor has often sounded alarms about global warming and criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s denial of climate science.

The 45-year-old Trudeau has been described as somewhat of an international heartthrob for his dark hair, trim build and progressive politics, including supporting the legalization of marijuana.

He doesn’t plan to attend any open events or greet people in the streets, his staff confirmed Wednesday morning.