While relations between Quebec and the United States are more tense than ever before, an American organization is preparing to award a prestigious prize to Prime Minister Philippe Couillard.
The Canadian Press has learned that the Foreign Policy Association will pay tribute to the Premier of Quebec on Thursday in New York, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the promotion of good bilateral relations.
Mr. Couillard will receive the highest distinction awarded by the Foreign Policy Association, a think-tank on public policy. Former Prime Minister Jean Charest received the same honor in 2011.
On the sidelines of the event, Mr. Couillard will take advantage of his stay in New York to visit the Food Fancy Show and meet Quebec entrepreneurs. Interviews with major US media are also on the agenda, which will allow him to pass his message of opening markets and fight protectionist measures decreed by the US administration.
This stay will follow the short mission made by the Prime Minister to Washington, where he will be able to meet with decision-makers and legislators, for the same purpose.
The Foreign Policy Association, founded in 1918, is a platform favored by political leaders to address US foreign policy issues, and more broadly international relations related to the global economy or current affairs.
According to the president of the organization, Noël Lateef, it was obvious to award this award to Premier Couillard, who has demonstrated in recent years an “exceptional” commitment to international relations in general and those with the United States. particular.
Fears of a “trade war”
On the growing tensions between Quebec and the United States, which recently imposed high tariffs on Canadian lumber, steel and aluminum, Mr. Lateef expressed hope that the administration Trump will step back and break these tariff barriers.
“I really hope it does not translate into a trade war. I think trade wars are bad for everyone. There is no winner in a trade war, “he said in a telephone interview.
When addressing these trade issues, one must always “take into consideration that Canada is a valuable ally of the United States,” he added.
Mr. Lateef praised the Prime Minister’s choice of appointing Jean-Claude Lauzon as head of the Québec Government Office in New York, someone “very close to the business community”.
President of the Foreign Policy Association for twenty years, recognized for his contacts in high places in the US administration, Mr. Lateef is a long-time friend of Quebec. In 2015, he was knighted by the Ordre national du Québec.
Rumor has it that he personally intervened on behalf of former Prime Minister Charest so that he could meet face-to-face during a gala dinner, the former Secretary of State of the United States United, Colin Powell, to keep the borders open, despite the attacks of September 2001.
Mr. Lateef also notes with satisfaction that Quebec, which has nine offices in the United States, is very active in the field.