On mission to Italy until October 19, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie Monique Gagnon-Tremblay will travel to L’Aquila, Rome and Milan where she will hold a series of meetings to strengthen institutional and economic ties between Québec and Italy. She will also go to the Vatican to represent the Québec government at the canonization ceremony of Brother André.
Visiting the site in L’Aquila that will house the new Il Cireneo daycare centre for autistic children. Left to right: Massimo Cialente, Mayor of L’Aquila; Minister Gagnon-Tremblay; Denis Lebel, Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Québec; and Germana Sorge, President of the Il Cireneo Foundation.
L’Aquila: Québec participates in reconstruction efforts
Minister Gagnon-Tremblay began her mission today in L’Aquila in the Abruzzo region. The city was heavily damaged during the earthquake that struck the area in April, 2009. Ms. Gagnon-Tremblay met with the Mayor of L’Aquila, Massimo Cialente and the President of the Abruzzo region, Giovanni Chiodi, to take stock of reconstruction efforts and Québec’s contribution to the initiative.
The Minister visited the construction site of the Il Cireneo daycare centre for autistic children. It is being reconstructed with an earthquake-resistant wood framework designed and manufactured in Québec. The Québec Wood Export Bureau (QWEB) has received the support of the Québec government, most notably from the Société d’habitation du Québec, to carry out this project.
During her meeting with the President of Abruzzo, the Minister addressed the region’s 50 mayors who had gathered to discuss reconstruction. She also took the opportunity provided by the occasion to promote Québec’s expertise.
Forging stronger ties with Italy and its regions
In Rome, Minister Gagnon-Tremblay and the President of the Puglia region, Nichi Vendola, will sign a joint statement for broadening economic cooperation between Québec and Puglia, Southern Italy’s most industrialized area. With 4,500 jobs and nearly 100 companies, the Puglia aerospace cluster is of particular strategic interest to Québec’s aeronautics industry. The signing of a letter of intent between AéroMontréal and the Puglia aerospace cluster has already resulted in a mission to the area by Québec-based companies last February.
The renewable energies sector also looks promising in terms of business partnerships. Puglia ranks first among Italian regions in wind, photovoltaic and biomass energy production. The Québec industry stands to benefit from closer ties with the region in these sectors.
The Minister will conclude the institutional and economic segment of her mission in Milan, Lombardy, Italy’s economic driving force, where she will meet with the President of the Lombardy region, Roberto Formigoni, to follow up on the joint statement signed last year with the Premier of Québec. The statement has led to the identification of concrete projects to be undertaken under an industrial and technological economic cooperation agreement for collaboration in the life sciences, information and environmental technologies, aerospace and renewable energies sectors.
Québec opened a Trade Branch in Milan in 2007 to bolster its economic ties with Italy. Québec and Lombardy have been maintaining formal cooperation since a first agreement was signed in 1990.
A meeting with the Mayor of Milan, Letizia Moratti, is scheduled. Ms. Gagnon-Tremblay will also meet with the leaders of Confindustria Lombardia, an organization composed of employer associations in several industrial sectors, and Assolombarda, Milan’s entrepreneurial association.
Italy has been designated as a priority country in Québec’s International Policy and was Québec’s 10th export market in 2009.
Canonization of Brother André
Brother André Bessette, a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross and founder of Saint Joseph’s Oratory, will be canonized on October 17 during a ceremony presided over by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Minister Gagnon-Tremblay will head the official Québec delegation, which will be comprised of the Lieutenant Governor of Québec, the honourable Pierre Duchesne, the MNA for Iberville, Marie Bouillé, and the Mayor of Montréal, Gérald Tremblay.
Québec Government Office in Rome
Québec Trade Branch in Milan