Maritime strategy: Minister Christine St-Pierre on mission to Chicago to strengthen Québec’s relations with its American partners

CHICAGO, IL, April 26, 2014 - Less than 48 hours after her appointment, Christine St-Pierre, the Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, went on an international mission to attend the executive meeting of the Council of Great Lakes Governors (CGLG), which was held on April 25 and 26 in Chicago, Illinois. The meeting was an excellent opportunity to underscore the importance Québec places on strengthening its economic and political relations with American states in the region and to communicate the Government of Québec’s priorities with respect to crucial issues affecting the American Midwest and Ontario.

The meeting was above all an occasion to formalize the holding of the next Summit of the Council of Great Lakes Governors in Québec in response to a letter of invitation from the Premier of Québec, Philippe Couillard.

“I am delighted that the governors have expressed their desire to hold the summit in Québec, which will, I am sure, raise our collaboration to a whole new level,” said Minister Christine St-Pierre.

Economy, maritime transport and the environment

The Minister took advantage of her presence at the CGLG executive meeting to articulate Québec’s vision with respect to the main issues facing the regional economy and maritime industry given that the Québec government intends to implement a maritime strategy.

“This ambitious maritime strategy will give birth to new drivers of economic growth, provide renewed momentum to a number of industries and enable Québec to take advantage of unique sustainable development opportunities and position itself on the global scene,” said Ms. St-Pierre.

This strategic project will create 30,000 new jobs between 2015 and 2030. It should generate public and private infrastructure investments topping $7 billion and result in tax revenues estimated at over $3.5 billion for the governments of Québec and Canada.

Ms. St-Pierre also laid out Québec’s achievements in connection with the working committees set up at the last Summit on Mackinac Island in 2013, including Québec’s actions in the fight against aquatic invasive species, notably joining the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) piloted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss common regional issues such as the future of the manufacturing sector.

Lastly, the mission was an opportunity to strengthen Québec’s relations with a number of neighbouring American states, notably by way of discussions with the three participating governors, Pat Quinn (Illinois), Rick Snyder (Michigan) and Scott Walker (Wisconsin). The American Midwest is a strategic region for Québec. One quarter of Québec’s annual exports to the United States, approximately, $10.4 billion, go to the 12 states of this region. In 2013, the value of trade between Québec and the Midwest totalled over $17 billion.

The CGLG

Created in 1983, the CGLG is a regional partnership of the eight Great Lakes states (New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota) as well as Québec and Ontario. The goal of the Council is to galvanize key political and economic decision-makers in order to achieve concrete economic and environmental objectives.

Minister program

Time

Minister program

Friday, April 25, 2014

11h30

Heads of delegations working lunch

Participants :
Governors, prime ministers, lieutenant governors, state and provincial participants

12:05

Beginning of discussions on maritime transportation in connection with the resolutions adopted at the 2013 Leadership Summit

Progress report by each head of delegation on the other resolutions concerning updates on implementing the Great Lakes Compact and Companion Agreement

13 p.m.

Growing Regional Manufacturing work session

Participants :
Governors, prime ministers, lieutenant governors, state and provincial participants

Discussion between governors, prime ministers, business representatives and leaders on foreign investments in American and Canadian industries led by the moderator

2:30 p.m.

Charting a Shared Future for Our Region work session

Participants :
Governors, prime ministers, lieutenant governors, state and provincial participants, platinum and gold sponsors

Beginning of the round table

3:30 p.m.

End of discussions

Official photo session

4 p.m.

Heads of delegations work session

Participants :
Governors, prime ministers, lieutenant governors, state and provincial participants

Discussions on economic development initiatives

5 p.m.

End of the work session

7 p.m.

Dinner

Participants :
Governors, prime ministers, lieutenant governors, state and provincial heads of delegations, spouses and other guests

Saturday, April 26, 2014

8:30 a.m.

Heads of delegations working breakfast

Participants :
Governors, prime ministers, lieutenant governors, state and provincial heads of delegations and accompanying delegations

Discussions on the Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force

Discussion on the mutual aid agreement to combat the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence River Basin.

8:50 a.m.

Water Monitoring Group presentation by Tim Ede, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Commission, and Paul Seelbach, Senior Science Advisor

9:10 a.m.

Report on the CGGL’s water management activities

9:35 a.m.

Great Lakes Protection Fund presentation

10:45 a.m.

Heads of delegation press conference

END OF MISSION

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