We were honored to participate in the Great Lakes Commission’s Semi-Annual Meeting. This year’s gathering was held virtually on May 11-12 and moderated by Erika Jensen, Interim Executive Director of the GLC, and Sharon Jackson, GLC Chair, Head of the Indiana Delegation, and Deputy General Counsel of the Office of the Governor of Indiana.
Québec had a strong presence at this year’s conference, particularly with the presentation of Madame Chantal Rouleau, Minister for Transports responsible for the maritime strategy of Québec. Minister Rouleau’s speech focused on Québec’s maritime priorities, combating climate change through sustainable government initiatives and the benefits of relationships between Québec and the Great Lakes states. As described by Minister Rouleau, “The Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence have been vital and competitive arteries of North American trade for centuries.” She concluded her speech emphasizing the importance of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence partnerships, stating, “With our American and Canadian partners, we will make the entire Great Lakes-St. Lawrence maritime system more efficient and competitive while respecting the main principles of sustainable mobility. I am convinced that by joining forces and sharing innovation among ourselves this will position us strategically on the world stage. Our presence here is already a tangible sign of our willingness to work together.”
Montréal-based Canada Steamship Lines participated in a Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River maritime transportation panel discussion on modernization, sustainability and resiliency,
represented by David Martin of the CSL group. The inclusion of this panel was particularly notable, as it marked the first instance in two decades that the GLC dedicated a session to maritime affairs. Mr. Martin shared that a transportation system that produces 90% less carbon is within reach, sharing that raw material industries could move completely to biodiesel within two years. He also highlighted the importance of nature-based solutions as among the cheapest and most effective investments that can lead to increased resiliency.
There were many varied sessions with dynamic and relevant conversations relating to resiliency, sustainability, equity and access, and many other topics of common concern for Great Lakes stakeholders in the United States and in Canada. We look forward to the Fall 2021 annual meeting in Ann Arbor, MI, and future collaborations and conversations with our Great Lakes-St. Lawrence partners on these shared priorities.