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April 15, 2013

Quebec active in international relations

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

Paquin said that in many cases, companies in Canada and the United States build products together, as is the case with Bombardier Transportation, which has a facility in Platsburgh.

Quebec played a major role in the negotiations that led to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Paquin said. It might not have been ratified without strong support from the province.

ENERGY ISSUES

The plan also aims to ensure Quebec remains a leader regarding energy and the environment. Paquin said HydroQuebec exports about $1.4 billion worth of electricity a year.

“Quebec has been very aggressive in that market in the last 10 years.”

It will be important to see what effect increased production of oil from shale has on the province’s electricity exports, he said.

TOURIST FLOW

The Quebec Action Plan called on the province to contribute to the security of the North American continent. Paquin said the flow of tourists from the United States to Canada has decreased since the 9/11 terrorist attacks but continues to increase in the other direction.

Possible factors include increased border security and a stronger Canadian dollar, he said.

The two countries need to continue to find ways to improve their relationship, he said.

“Many politicians put an emphasis on what is dividing our nations rather than on what is uniting our nations.”

Dr. Christopher Kirkey, director of the university’s Center for the Study of Canada, said Paquin is the first Fulbright chair in Quebec Studies at any American university or college.

“He is the leading scholar on Quebec’s international relations, bar none,” Kirkey said.

Email Dan Heathdheath@pressrepublican.com

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