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.
Brussels, June 17, 2009 ― The 2009 Québec/Wallonia-Brussels youth literature prizes have been awarded to Quebecer Dominique Demers for her novel L’Élu : la grande quête de Jacob Jobin, published by Québec Amérique, and Belgium’s Jean-Marie Defossez for Envol pour le paradis, published by Bayard Jeunesse. The Québec and Belgian authors will be officially presented with their prizes at the Salon du livre de Montréal (Montréal book fair) in November 2009 and the Foire du livre de Bruxelles (Brussels book fair) in March 2010. This year’s awards were reserved for authors of novels for young readers aged 12 to 15.
On June 11, Premier Jean Charest participated in the unveiling of a statue of Confucius presented to Québec by the Province of Shandong, represented for the occasion by Vice Governor Suilian Wang and the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Lijun Lan. The statue is a token of the lasting friendship between Québec and Shandong, the Chinese province where the famous philosopher was born.
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.
During a ceremony held in Montréal on June 8, José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), and Marcel Proulx, Director General of Québec’s National School of Public Administration (ENAP), signed a cooperation agreement concerning the modernization and integration of Haiti’s civil status records. Also attending were Yolande James, Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities, Pierre-Richard Casimir, Consul General of Haiti, and Graeme Clark, Canada’s Ambassador to the OAS.
MHD has delivered the first shipset of KC-135 landing gear (nose gear and two main gear) for end use by the French Air Force. France operates 14 Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers for mid-air refuelling operations. Under a long term agreement, MHD provides logistics support to Sabena Technics via management of the overhaul of the aircraft landing gear. MHD is specialized in supporting legacy aircraft platforms including the KC-135, where spare parts availability is a challenge.
After visiting Moscow, the Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, concluded his mission to Russia on June 7 by participating in the 13th Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). This Russian “Davos” is a gathering place for the world’s political and economic elite as well as for the Russian Federation’s most influential figures, including President Medvedev.
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.
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.