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Sharing A Continent, Sharing Solutions

McGuinty Urges Ontario And U.S. To Work Together On Border Security And Clean Air

Office of the Premier

WASHINGTON -- Ontario and the United States should use their long history of friendship and productive trade to find North American solutions to common challenges, says Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

"North America's future is Ontario's future, so let's work together to resolve the great industrial, social, energy, environmental, security and infrastructure challenges facing the continent," Premier McGuinty said in a speech to the Canadian American Business Council in Washington, D.C.

Premier McGuinty repeated Ontario's commitment to replace its coal-fired power generation with clean energy alternatives. In return, he called for tougher emissions standards for hundreds of old coal-fired electricity plants that are to be retrofitted in the U.S.

"Let's take a deep breath and get this right for families on both sides of the border."

Citing deep affection for Ontario's southern neighbor, Premier McGuinty said:

"We've built the mightiest economic relationship in the world, but those Canadian nurses and firefighters who tried so desperately to get to New York in the first few days after 9/11 provided a large clue that our relationship is founded on something deeper than just commerce."

Premier McGuinty said Ontario will continue to play a leadership role in North American affairs.

"We have been a vocal force for continental cooperation and for ever-closer ties, because our past shows that what's good for one is good for all."

Premier McGuinty said Ontario and the United States need to work creatively together to keep the border secure and open.

"Ontario will be a worthy ally in the war on terrorism. We will not allow ourselves to be used as a base for future terrorism operations against the United States. We will not be exploited. We will be vigilant."

Yet, Premier McGuinty said: "Border delays are affecting Ontario's competitiveness, threatening our vital auto connection with Michigan and cutting sharply into tourism."

"Entire businesses are at stake, and so are jobs, government revenues, and the important public services and programs they support."

Premier McGuinty repeated his proposal, first made a month ago in Detroit, of a bi-national zone at the border to facilitate the pre-clearance of people and goods.

Ontario is the United States' third-largest trading partner, after Canada and Mexico. Two-way trade between Ontario and the United States amounts to almost $900 million per day. Millions of jobs on both sides of the border depend directly on Ontario--U.S. trade.

"Let's strive to be even closer allies, so we can overcome the challenges we face together, and deliver what our people both want: a prosperous economy, a secure society and a quality of life that's second to none," Premier McGuinty said.


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