Québec and Manitoba will be the first two North American subnational governments to join the Territorial Approach to Climate Change, a new initiative promoted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The announcement was made in Brussels on June 26 by Québec Premier Jean Charest during his official visit to Europe.
The President of Québec’s National Assembly, Yvon Vallières, was elected President of the Francophonie Parliamentary Assembly (Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie or APF in French) at the 35th session of the organization held in Paris on July 6.
On July 2, Québec Premier Jean Charest presented Jean-Pierre Kelche, grand chancellor of the Légion d’honneur, with the insignia of the grand officer of the Ordre national du Québec. Chantal Moreno, advisor to the secretary general of the International Francophone Organization (OIF), His Excellency Abdou Diouf, was presented with the insignia of the knight of the Ordre. The ceremony was held at Québec Government Office in Paris.
Participating heads of government from Mexico, the US and Canada pledged to strengthen their cooperation and make North America more competitive at the conclusion of the fifth Leaders’ Summit on North American Relations, chaired by Premier Jean Charest in Québec City on June 3.
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.”
Several internationally renowned figures from the world’s economic, political and social circles participated in the 15th Conference of Montréal held from June 8 to 11. The conference theme was “Adapting to a New World Order.” Premier Jean Charest presided over the opening luncheon attended by World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick, among others.
To encourage foreign film productions to be shot in Québec, which creates or supports roughly 4500 jobs and generates spinoff of nearly $200 million, on average, the government is announcing a major revamping of the refundable tax credit for film production services.
Poet Hélène Dorion has been awarded the Charles-Vildrac prize for her collection of poems Le hublot des heures, published by Éditions La Différence. She is the first Quebecer to be singled out for this honour by the Société des gens de lettres de France (SGDLF).
The second session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions concluded in Paris on June 16. The meeting was aimed primarily at approving operational guidelines facilitating the implementation of the Convention and electing new members to the Intergovernmental Committee. In this regard, Québec welcomes Canada’s resounding re-election to a second consecutive term. Building on the UNESCO agreement between the Québec and Canadian governments, Québec will continue to play an active role in the Committee’s initiatives and negotiations.
Québec’s National Assembly adopted a bill on June 9 implementing the Québec-France agreement on mutual recognition of professional qualifications, as well as other agreements of the same nature. The legislation reflects the commitments made in October 2008 by Premier Charest and President Sarkozy aimed at facilitating and expediting the granting of permits to practice a regulated profession or trade on both sides of the Atlantic.
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.
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.
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.