On mission in Washington, D.C. – Minister Pierre Arcand gives the economy and the environment top priority in his new U.S. strategy

Québec City, Wednesday, June 17, 2009 – The Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, is undertaking a two-day mission to Washington, D.C. to meet with high-level political figures for further consultation in devising a new U.S. strategy. This marks Minister Arcand's fifth visit to the United States and his second to the U.S. capital.

The trip will provide the Minister an opportunity to meet with key U.S. Congress members, including Jim Oberstar (Democrat), Representative from Minnesota and Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Bernie Sanders (Independent), Senator from Vermont; Paul D. Tonko (Democrat), Representative from New York; and Henry E. Brown (Republican), Representative from South Carolina and Co-chair of the Friends of Canada Caucus. Minister Arcand's discussions will focus primarily on trade, environmental, security and transportation issues common to Québec and the United States.

“In our efforts to find common solutions for dealing with the effects of the economic crisis, I will take the opportunity afforded by these meetings to make U.S. representatives aware that enacting protectionist measures involving our governments would be detrimental to the sound development of businesses in both Québec and the U.S. as well as to the prosperity and competitiveness of our economies,” stated the Minister.

On June 19, Minister Arcand will be a panellist in an energy and climate change forum of the Canadian American Business Council (CABC). The event will enable the Minister to outline measures put forward by the Québec government and highlight the leadership role it has played in North America in fighting climate change.

“This showcase will allow me to demonstrate that Québec has beneficial solutions to offer when it comes to addressing climate change. We can make a significant contribution to achieving the greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals set by U.S. states, especially by increasing our clean and renewable electricity exports,” indicated Minister Arcand.

During the mission, a new agreement between Québec and the Woodrow Wilson International Center will be signed by Minister Arcand and the Center's President and Director, Lee Hamilton. The renowned academic center presents a series of activities, including seminars and lectures on Québec, and hosts Québec university professors.

While in Washington, Minister Arcand will also take part in activities celebrating Québec's National Holiday. Additionally, he will meet with the heads of post of the Québec Government Offices in the United States to discuss the new U.S. strategy and priority issues for North America.

Photos will be available upon request.

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