The Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, will be in New York City and Washington D.C. this week to establish initial contacts with U.S. political, economic and institutional communities. The visit comes barely a month after the inauguration of the new American administration, as Québec and the U.S. endeavour to deal with the effects of the global economic crisis.
“I want to get a feel for New York and Washington, since that is where issues of strategic interest to Québec are discussed. I also intend to stress the importance our government places on intensifying its relations with the United States. I am convinced that our mutual interests will enable us to meet the common challenges that we are currently facing,” said Minister Arcand.
The Minister’s schedule in New York includes meetings on Tuesday, February 17 and Wednesday, February 18 with Marisa Lago, President and CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation, and Thomas Donlon, Director of the New York State Office of Homeland Security. In Washington this coming Friday and Saturday, the Minister will be received at the U.S. Department of State by Roberta Jacobson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Canada, Mexico and NAFTA issues. He will also meet with the Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Michael Wilson, and the President and Director of the prestigious Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Lee Hamilton. While in the U.S. capital, the Minister will attend the meeting of the National Governors Association (NGA), a forum representing all governors across the United States. The NGA’s mission is to promote the states’ role within the federal government, act as a voice for states on key national issues and foster information sharing on best practices regarding governance and public policy.
Québec maintains six offices in the United States, including New York and Washington. The Québec government collaborates closely with a number of U.S. states in such sectors as the economy, energy, the environment, public security and culture.