Ontario And Province Of Jiangsu Renew Friendship
Premier McGuinty Recognizes Remembrance Day At Solemn Ceremony
NANJING -- Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario Trade Mission to China today celebrated Ontario's special friendship with Jiangsu Province by signing a renewed Memorandum of Understanding and Friendship.
"We have witnessed the power of Beijing, and we have seen the bright lights of Shanghai, but there is an expression in English, that there is no place like home, and coming to Jiangsu province feels like coming home," the Premier said to loud applause from the 200 people attending a banquet hosted by Jiangsu Governor Liang Baohuo.
Twenty years ago, then Premier David Peterson signed the first Friendship Accord with Jiangsu, paving the way for Ontario in China and fostering a series of economic, educational and governmental partnerships. That relationship continues to intensify as China's remarkable economic boom continues to accelerate.
In his remarks, Governor Liang said Jiangsu has experienced several straight years of economic growth averaging more than 12 per cent, and now does $220 billion worth of trade with 218 countries. He stressed that Ontario has a special relationship with Jiangsu, one that should now lead to increased co-operation and trade.
Jiangsu Province, located on China's east coast, is now home to a number of Ontario-based firms including AMR Technologies, Celestica, Nortel, Magna International, Manulife Financial and Linamar Corporation.
Premier McGuinty and Governor Liang signed the renewed accord at a special ceremony, followed by the signing of several individual co-operation agreements between Ontario firms, universities and colleges and their Chinese counterparts.
Brock University, Can-Travel Services, Seneca College, University of Waterloo and Canada Shred Tech Corporation all took part.
The renewed Friendship Accord will:
- Help create the Ontario-Jiangsu Business Council, which will promote two-way trade and investment
- Support student, teacher and principal exchanges
- Facilitate "two plus two" educational programs which allow students to study for two years in Ontario and then two years in China
- Promote the sharing of information on agriculture, natural resources, medical services and public health.
Joe Cordiano, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, and Tony Wong, MPP and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Research and Innovation, witnessed the signings.
"By working with the people of China and Jiangsu and building on this special relationship, we can strengthen our economies and ensure our shared prosperity for years to come," said Wong.
"Building friendships is an important part of building prosperity through two-way trade and investment," said Cordiano.
Earlier in the day in Shanghai, the Premier marked Remembrance Day by joining officials at the Canadian Consulate for a solemn ceremony to honour the bravery and sacrifices of Canadian veterans. Later, the Premier was greeted warmly by Ontario flag waving children at #10 Middle School in Suzhou.
The children, who have been studying Remembrance Day and the poem In Flanders Fields, asked the Premier several questions about Ontario. The Premier, in turn, asked them several questions about school in China, and spoke about the importance of education to the future of both Canada and China.
The Suzhou school is one of three schools twinned with schools in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. This partnership has seen Ontario teachers visiting Suzhou #10 to provide English training and Chinese staff have visited Ottawa sister schools to learn about continuing education.
The Ontario trade mission to China, which concludes November 15, includes more than 125 people from approximately 100 organizations, representing private sector companies, universities and colleges, municipalities, agricultural organizations and medical research institutions.