At a time when New York State is developing a new energy strategy, Québec's Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife Claude Béchard went to Albany on June 1 to promote hydroelectricity. Québec’s contribution in meeting the state’s goal of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and potential increase in exports of clean and renewable electricity were at the centre of the discussions.
At the end of May, the City of Montréal welcomed a delegation from Seattle, led by Mayor Gregory Nickels, made up of about 70 representatives of the region’s economic, educational, cultural and institutional sectors. The purpose of the mission was to find out more about Montréal’s practices with respect to public transit, the cultural and entertainment industries and development of the information technology and aerospace sectors.
At the end of the first part of its mission in Russia, the Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, was very enthusiastic about his reception by the Russian representatives he met and the possibilities for cooperation that were proposed.
Premier Jean Charest attended the signing of a professional qualifications mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) between the Québec Bar and the National Bar Council of France. The signing took place at the Québec Bar’s annual convention on May 30. The new arrangement was reached in conjunction with the Québec-France Agreement signed in October, 2008, and seeks to provide greater mobility for lawyers between Québec and France.
Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, will be making an official visit to Russia until June 7 aimed at exploring opportunities to boost exchanges between Russia and Québec, particularly in the areas of trade, education and culture.
The Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, took part on May 28 in the launch of a major promotional campaign for Québec food products in New York, in collaboration with The Food Emporium, a well-known New York food chain.
Twelve international youth mobility projects were singled out for honours on May 27 in the National Assembly, during the first-ever LOJIQ awards ceremony. Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, presented the top prize.
On May 28 and 29, the Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, is carrying out a mission to New York City to hold discussions with key political players on various issues pertaining to trade, the environment, security and transportation. It is the Minister’s fourth mission to the U.S. and his second visit to New York State.
Québec artists will have a prominent place at the next Avignon Festival this coming July 7 to 29. For its 63rd edition, the Festival has selected Québec author and director Wajdi Mouawad as its associate artist. Quebec stage, literary and film artists will also be on the program.
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.