October 21, 2012

Editorial: Quebec link crucial to foster


---- — The North Country Chamber of Commerce has developed, over the years, an excellent recognition of this region’s connectivity with Canada.

Under the leadership of President Garry Douglas, the chamber keeps a good eye on developments across the border that may have an impact on our area. The organization has dedicated itself to developing solid relationships with Quebec government and business leaders and has worked hard to entice more Canadian development in the North Country.

The chamber has promoted the idea that this area is “Montreal’s U.S. suburb,” recognizing the impact that Quebec and its people have here.

So chamber leadership watched with keen interest the recent Quebec elections and, in a recent chamber newsletter, proclaimed it “an important election day for the North Country.” They have already reached out to new government leaders there.

Here are some excerpts from Douglas’s statement on the elections:

“The Quebec election of the past month has prompted a great deal of outreach and communication on the part of the chamber and its partners, as it saw the defeat of the majority Liberal government led by Premier Jean Charest and the election of a minority Parti Quebecois (PQ) government now led by new Premier Pauline Marois.

“The North Country Chamber of Commerce has enjoyed an active partnership with the Quebec government and its premiers going back to Lucien Bouchard, when we began working on such shared aims as border efficiency and transportation.

“In 2002, this evolved into the Quebec-New York Corridor Coalition, a formal private-public partnership involving the North Country Chamber on behalf of New York business, the Federation of Quebec Chambers on behalf of Quebec business, and the Quebec and New York State governments.

“That year, we enjoyed working with Premier Bernard Landry to plan and conduct a highly successful first Quebec-New York Summit in Plattsburgh, and our relationship with Quebec’s leaders has only grown since then. This includes nine years and three summits with our good friend Jean Charest, who has more than once referred to the North Country Chamber as Quebec’s best friend in the U.S.

“We have now congratulated Pauline Marois on her selection as Quebec’s first woman premier, and we are looking forward to establishing what we have every reason to expect to be the same working relationship we have enjoyed with her predecessors. The importance of the Quebec-New York relationship remains paramount ....

“We look forward to meeting with the new premier and her team in the very near future, building and continuing the friendship we have always enjoyed, smoothly transitioning current discussions around various issues and opportunities, and refreshing the planning process for a fifth Quebec-New York Summit as soon as Quebec is ready.”

The chamber’s efforts in regard to Quebec are tres bon for the North Country.