It is with great pleasure that I write to you today for the first time in my capacity as Agent-General here at the Québec Government Office in London. It is an honour and a privilege to have been chosen to take on this exciting mandate in the UK, Republic of Ireland and the Nordic countries. I come into my role following a career in the private sector as a partner and manager of a global law firm headquartered in London.
At the outset, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, Mr. Christos Sirros, for his work and dedication over the past three years. I also wish to express my gratitude to my team at the Québec Government Office for their warm welcome, their knowledge and their support as I undertake this mandate.
Since taking up my post on October 16th this year, I am happy to say that I have already met with many of you over the course of some very informative meetings and interesting activities. I must say that I feel particularly privileged to be able to count on all of you as we work in partnership to strengthen the economic, cultural, academic and government links between Québec and the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. I look forward to visiting many of you in your home countries in the first quarter of 2018.
We recently hosted Québec’s Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Mme. Christine St-Pierre, on the 27th, 28th and 29th of November. During the course of our meetings with various government and private sector stakeholders, Minister St-Pierre discussed our Government’s Policy for Québec’s Affirmation and for Canadian Relations, the importance of the ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, as well as the leading role Québec played in the negotiation of this agreement.
Minister St-Pierre hosted a reception celebrating the 15th anniversary of the close cultural co-operation between Québec and the British Council. She also announced, in cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers, a call for projects in the culture and innovation sectors. In addition Mme. St. Pierre awarded the Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie’ s 50th anniversary medal to the University of Stockholm’s Mrs. Françoise Sule.
Finally, the Minister and I were pleased to meet with two delegations of Québec companies from the mining and security industries, visiting London on business development missions with the support of our Québec Government Office.
I also had the opportunity to participate in an Arctic Circle forum in Edinburgh with Mr. Robert Sauvé, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Société du Plan Nord. In the course of this forum, Mr. Sauvé highlighted Québec’s expertise and plans for sustainable northern development.
Most recently and with the support of our team, an innovative forestry mission was held in Sweden, bringing together 35 participants from Québec in meetings with industry leaders from across the world.
Please make sure you read the latest brochure from our Cultural Team. It includes a fantastic range of cultural events taking place across the UK, Republic of Ireland and Nordic countries between January and April 2018. It has just been published here.
Finally, I was able to carry out my first visit to Wales on the 13th of December. It was a pleasure to have meetings with the First Minister, the Rt. Hon Carwyn Jones AM; Ms. Elin Jones AM; and the Director of the British Council Wales, Ms. Jenny Scott. I was also impressed during my visit to Québec business CGI’s Bridgend site. The Welsh Government’s recent decision to open an Office in Montréal will allow us to strengthen our economic, scientific, cultural and institutional links.
The territories we cover are full of exciting reciprocal opportunities for all of us whether in the business, cultural, academic or government sectors. I intend to work relentlessly with my team to maximise collaboration with you in all of these areas and to ensure that Québec shines on the international stage.
Finally, I would like to take this occasion to wish you all a happy holiday season with your families and loved ones.
I look forward to seeing you all in 2018!