"Sovereignty without security meaningless," says Runciman
TORONTO, Oct. 31 /CNW/ - In a statement in the Ontario Legislature today, Economic Development and Trade Minister Bob Runciman said the Ontario government does not share federal concerns about a perceived loss of sovereignty, if a North American security perimeter were to be established.
Runciman told the House that "sovereignty without security is meaningless." He noted that Premiers across Canada, business leaders and everyday Canadians have joined Premier Mike Harris and the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, in calling for this approach.
Runciman pointed out that 93 percent of Ontario exports go to the U.S. and that 48 percent of the province's economy and 1.5 million Ontario jobs depend on it. The Minister said, "We cannot put in jeopardy our access to American markets and the jobs and investment decisions that are clearly linked to that access."
Central to the Ontario government's actions post-September 11th is the November 2nd Industry Leaders' Roundtable on Border Issues. Premier Harris and Minister Runciman will discuss the concept of a security perimeter with business leaders and others.
"This forum will help us develop an Action Plan to guide future decision- making ... decisions that will ensure Ontario's cross-border trade and commerce remain vital and competitive," said Runciman, who will chair the Roundtable.
The Roundtable complements other Ontario government action outlined in the Minister's statement, including: ongoing meetings with key stakeholders; a meeting between the Premier, Minister and New York State Governor George Pataki; a requested meeting with Great Lakes Governors; and letters to federal Ministers of Industry, Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
"Our government has been, and will continue to be, in the forefront of activities that will ensure trade between Canada and the U.S., and Ontario's economy, do not become victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11th."
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For further information: Hal Vincent, Minister's Office (416) 325-8779; Lisa Jakobsen, Communications Branch (416) 325-0794