The premiers of Quebec and Ontario are in Washington on Friday and Saturday to extol the virtues of a modernized free trade agreement to end the climate of uncertainty currently prevailing in North America.
Philippe Couillard and Kathleen Wynne are scheduled to meet the governors of several US states during this group visit. Prime Minister Couillard kicked off on Friday that “the business world hates uncertainty”, and it will be necessary to one day put an end to it.
Premiers of Canada’s two largest provinces benefit from Washington State Governors’ visit to Washington for their annual winter meeting.
These elected officials have often been strong allies of those who want to save the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): they wrote letters, submitted their concerns to Vice President Mike Pence and tried to influence the President Donald Trump. Some governors are also facing the electorate this year in the mid-term elections in November.
Mr. Couillard and Ms. Wynne, whose two provinces account for more than half of the Canadian economy, participated in a panel on Friday morning.
The Premier of Quebec was due Friday to meet with the governors of Virginia and Maryland, and the next day with those of Kentucky, Massachusetts and Oregon. He will also have an interview on Friday with the Canadian ambassador.
Couillard says he and his Ontario counterpart have already met dozens of US governors since last year. And he says he has never met a single governor who is not a supporter of NAFTA.
In her speech, Ms. Wynne suggested that this debate is a kind of leadership test for the political class. “It is incumbent on us to chase uncertainty, in a very uncertain climate,” she said. “And NAFTA is not bad at the top of this list.”
Colorado Democratic governor John Hickenlooper noted that the Friday morning panel was being held in the Ronald Reagan Building, the Republican president who had begun negotiations leading up to NAFTA.
“We all see that trade has saved millions and millions of people from poverty,” he said.