Ontario And Quebec Announce Trade Talks
Premiers McGuinty And Charest Also Call For Federal Action To Support Manufacturers
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Quebec Premier Jean Charest today announced they will cooperate to eliminate trade barriers and improve labour mobility between their two provinces. They also called on the federal government to work with them to ensure the Ontario and Quebec economies remain competitive in today's tough global marketplace.
The Premiers signed a joint declaration to begin negotiating an expanded accord to strengthen the economies of Quebec and Ontario. Because of the importance they give to this initiative, the Premiers will designate lead negotiators and have asked their responsible ministers to meet regularly to ensure rapid results.
"This agreement will strengthen Canada's economic union by creating a more open economy between Ontario and Quebec," said Premier McGuinty.
"Quebec and Ontario form the largest trading bloc in Canada," said Premier Charest. "We can eliminate barriers to trade and labour mobility while maintaining the capacity of each government to respond to circumstances in their respective provinces."
The Premiers also discussed the consequences of a strong Canadian dollar on their manufacturing sectors. They urged the federal government to take immediate and tangible action to support the steps Ontario and Quebec have already taken.
"Fierce competition from overseas and a strong Canadian dollar mean our exporters have their backs against the wall," Premier McGuinty said. "We have an economic plan and we need the federal government to step up and do its part to support the plan."
"A struggling manufacturing sector has repercussions for the entire economy," said Premier Charest. "Prime Minister Stephen Harper must convene a meeting with premiers of all provinces and territories as soon as possible to tackle the crisis."
In making their announcement, both Premiers emphasized the value of enhancing the strong, successful relationship that exists between the people of Quebec and Ontario. With that in mind, Premiers McGuinty and Charest agreed to hold a joint Cabinet meeting in the spring of 2008. The steps taken today build on the cooperation agreement signed by the two Premiers in 2006 and will foster closer cooperation to make both provinces more prosperous.