From October 20 through the 22nd, 2017, the Government of Quebec took part in the Leadership Summit of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers (GSGP) in Detroit (MI) and Windsor (ON). The Quebec delegation included the Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification, André Fortin, and the Head of the Quebec Government Office in Chicago, Jean-François Hould.
Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Mary Taylor, Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, John Linc Stine, Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Bruno Pigott, and the Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification of Quebec, André Fortin.
Throughout the summit, the heads of the state and provincial delegations (Quebec, Ontario, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania), their federal counterparts, and other stakeholders exchanged views on the different issues that affect the region, ranging from environmental protections to free-trade. Thus, maritime trade has been broadly discussed, considering its economic weight in the region. Indeed, the Quebec’s maritime economy supports thousands of direct jobs and injects billions of dollars into the regional economy.
Hence, in 2016, the Conference adopted its first maritime strategy, which has for objective to double maritime trade in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence corridor by 2030. The latter feats with the maritime strategy the Government of Quebec adopted back in 2015. To achieve such a goal, one needs to commit to invest in infrastructure and to coordinate with other stakeholders. This is why the Leadership Summit of the GSGP is an invaluable opportunity for Quebec to assert its interests in the region.
The Government of Quebec also promoted to its American counterparts the importance of regional trade integration (all together, the states and provinces of the Conference form the third biggest economy in the world). Following numerous meetings, Quebec was able to identify a widely held position on both sides of the border: it is vital to safeguard the achievements of US-Canada free-trade policy. The Government of Quebec also holds this position and considers that the American people will ultimately gain from safeguarding their privileged relationship with Canada and Quebec. The regional unity around this vision showed in the signature of the resolution on US-Canada trade integration and the benefits of cross-border trade.
Mr. Fortin also met with the Minister of Transport of Canada, Mr. Garneau, and the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, to discuss about the coordination between the provinces and the federal government on a variety of issues, such as autonomous vehicles and vessels, trade, maritime transportation, and infrastructure. Through this meeting, Minister Fortin has reiterated the Quebec’s ongoing commitment to the development of maritime trade and has underlined the importance of further investing in maritime infrastructure. This determination has manifested in the signature of the resolution on the management of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Maritime System.
Three other resolutions have been adopted during the summit:
. The resolution calling for collaboration among the GSGP, the Marine Autonomy Coalition, and the Norwegian Forum for Autonomous Ships;
. The resolution on a connected and autonomous mobility initiative; and,
. The resolution enhancing regional protections against aquatic invasive species.
Quebec comes back from this summit convinced of the pertinence of regional cooperation and with the certainty that it has a strong economic strategy that will make our economy stood out on the regional and international stage and that will benefit all Quebecers.