Visit to Plattsburgh: Pierre Arcand lobbies the North County Chamber of Commerce in support of the proposed Montreal-New York high-speed rail linePlattsburgh, NY, October 19, 2009 – Pierre Arcand, Québec's Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, travelled to Plattsburgh today to address the Plattsburgh North County Chamber of Commerce and to discuss the proposed Montreal-New York high-speed rail line, a top-priority project for both the governments of Québec and New York State.
During his discussions with Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas, Mr. Arcand pointed out that “the construction of railway projects is a major regional economic development driver on both sides of the border. With annual trade between Québec and the US valued at nearly $80 billion, it is essential that the border remain open to the free flow of goods and people. The proposed high-speed rail line between Montreal and New York is very important to the Government of Québec, and I would like to reaffirm our keen interest in this project. In addition, a high-speed rail line would be an effective way to cut regional greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of cars on our highways.”
During his visit, Mr. Arcand also delivered the Distinguished Québec Address at the Institute on Québec Studies (IQS) at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Plattsburgh. Bringing together researchers, academics and university students, this annual event recognizes the contributions of leading public figures to Québec's economic and social development. This year, Mr. Arcand emphasized the unique links that Québec has forged with its US neighbours, particularly New York State and New England. He also noted that Québec and the US have shared priorities and challenges in the areas of economics, energy, climate change and security.
Founded in 2004, the IQS administers the first Québec studies program offered at a US university. In addition to courses on Québec culture and society, it organizes conferences and seminars for SUNY professors and secondary school teachers from around the region. For 2008-2009, Québec's Department of International Relations (MRI) provided the IQS with financial support totalling US$15,000.
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