Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, released the 2009-2014 Action Plan adopted under Québec’s International Policy at a conference lunch hosted on May 25 by the Montréal Council on Foreign Relations (CORIM). In the words of Minister Arcand, “This Action Plan, which is the result of broad collaboration between government departments in various sectors, ensures synergy with respect to international efforts deployed by the government as a whole, and thus bolsters Québec’s capacity for influence and action abroad.”
The Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, is pleased that the National Assembly has passed the Act respecting the creation of the Office Québec-Monde pour la jeunesse. The office will be mandated to develop relations between young people in Québec and their counterparts in territories and countries not covered by one of the three existing youth offices: the Office franco-québécois pour la jeunesse, the Office Québec/Wallonie-Bruxelles pour la jeunesse and the Office Québec-Amériques pour la jeunesse.
On May 13, the Premier of Québec, Jean Charest, officially launched construction on the hydroelectric complex on the Romaine in Havre-Saint-Pierre. Mr. Charest was accompanied by the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Claude Béchard, the Minister of Native Affairs, Pierre Corbeil, the mayor of Havre-Saint-Pierre and prefect of the Minganie RCM, Pierre Cormier, the chiefs of the Innu communities of the Moyenne-Côte-Nord and Basse-Côte-Nord, and Hydro-Québec president and CEO, Thierry Vandal.
Line Beauchamp, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, tabled a bill on climate change in the National Assembly on May 12. Once approved, the bill will give the Government of Québec the necessary legislative powers to participate in North America’s most important greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cap-and-trade program, in partnership with the other Canadian provinces and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) member states.
On May 6, Québec Premier Jean Charest announced the appointment of former Premier Pierre Marc Johnson as Québec’s chief negotiator for the proposed trans-Atlantic agreement between Canada and the European Union (EU) aimed at facilitating trade and expanding areas of cooperation.
Over 400 music professionals attended the UK’s Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards ceremony, during which Québec conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin was singled out for the 2009 Young Artists prize.
Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, met with key political and economic stakeholders in Chicago on May 14 and 15, in line with the Government of Québec's new US strategy, which is currently being developed. This was Mr. Arcand’s third visit south of the border and his first to the state of Illinois, Québec’s seventh largest trading partner in the US.
On May 8, Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, took part in the signing ceremony for an agreement between Montréal International and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), under which WADA will keep its secretariat in Montréal until 2021.
On May 18 and 19, the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife and Minister responsible for the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, Claude Béchard, carried out an important green electricity mission to Hartford and Groton, Connecticut.
At the regular meeting of Francophone partners held in conjunction with the Cannes Film Festival, representatives from Québec (SODEC - Society for the development of cultural industries), Canada (Téléfilm Canada), the French Community of Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland approved an agreement in principle to establish a Francophone film development fund. The purpose of the fund is to foster the flow of investments in French-language feature-length fiction co-productions.
Some 400 experts from over 80 countries are taking part in the 7th meeting of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Working Group on Social Responsibility in Québec City through May 22. The purpose of the meeting is to define the ISO 26000 standard, which will provide guidelines for incorporating the principles of sustainable development into the management of organizations. Premier Jean Charest and the Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, addressed the event’s participants.
Why do certain federated states play a role on the international stage? A variety of university activities are being held this spring to answer this question. Québec, which has been active internationally for 40 years and has a network of government offices in 20 countries around the world, is often singled out as a model. In an interview broadcast by VRT, when asked about the new Flanders House in New York City, Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy pointed to the example of Québec’s network of government offices abroad, which exists alongside Canada’s network of embassies.
Maryse Gaudreault, member of the National Assembly for Hull and parliamentary assistant to the Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, embarked on a mission to Haiti on May 20 where she will attend the third meeting of the joint committee for the Haitian governance enhancement project (PARGEP). The meeting will lead to the adoption of the 2009-2010 action plan.
Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, recently marked the 25th anniversary of the Québec/Wallonia-Brussels Youth Office (OQWBJ). The organization, which aims to develop relationships between young people in Québec, Wallonia and Brussels, offers logistical and financial support to more than 600 individuals every year completing international internships in the cultural, business and environmental sectors.
On behalf of Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Maryse Gaudreault, the Minister’s parliamentary assistant and member of the National Assembly for Hull, presented the 2009 Hector Fabre award to the University of Québec at Chicoutimi (UQAC) for a project involving the international provision of university programs. The award, which includes a $25,000 cash prize, was presented on May 15 during the meeting of the Union of Québec Municipalities (UMQ) in Gatineau.
Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, will be meeting with key political and economic stakeholders in Chicago on May 14 and 15, in line with the Government of Québec's new US strategy, which is currently being developed. This will be Mr. Arcand’s third visit south of the border and his first to the state of Illinois, Québec’s seventh largest trading partner in the US.
Seventy cooperation projects between Québec and Wallonia-Brussels will be launched over the next two years in the fields of culture, language, science and technology, the economy, education and vocational training. The projects were selected during the sixth meeting of the Commission mixte permanente Québec/Wallonie-Bruxelles (Québec/Wallonia-Brussels standing joint committee), held in Québec City from May 11 to 14.