ONTARIO AND QUEBEC BUILD FOUNDATION FOR A STRONGER CENTRAL CANADIAN ECONOMIC REGION



    Premiers McGuinty And Charest Hold First-Ever Joint Meeting Of Ontario
    And Quebec Cabinets

    QUEBEC CITY, June 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Emerging from the first-ever joint
meeting of their Cabinets, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Quebec Premier
Jean Charest today announced new progress made by their two provinces toward
creating a regional partnership in central Canada to strengthen their
economies and cooperate on key issues like climate change, energy and
transportation.
    "Ontario and Quebec are working together to build a prosperous regional
economy that will attract business, workers and investment from around the
world," said Premier McGuinty. "Our goal is to create a common economic space
in central Canada that will allow companies in Quebec and Ontario to compete
and prosper in the global economy."
    "Progress made today on a number of priority areas for our two
governments build on an already impressive record of achievements made since
the signature of the Quebec-Ontario protocol for cooperation in June 2006,"
said Premier Charest. "It also demonstrates the extent and the strength of our
collective commitment to cooperate to improve services for our citizens."
    The Premiers made their comments at the conclusion of the first-ever
joint meeting of the Ontario and Quebec Cabinets. Thirty ministers from the
two provinces met in Quebec City to discuss common issues and sign agreements.
    Ontario and Quebec represent Canada's two largest economies and together
are home to almost two thirds of all Canadians. Together, both provinces are
responsible for approximately 58 percent of Canada's total GDP, and for more
than 55 percent of inter-provincial exports.
    Premiers released the framework for the Ontario-Quebec Economic
Partnership Agreement developed by the lead provincial negotiators. The
framework will help guide negotiations as the two Provinces work to create a
common economic space in central Canada and make it easier to do business and
work in the region. Premiers also signed a joint declaration for a closer
economic relationship between Canada and the European Union. "To achieve such
a partnership, we would like to see the beginning of negotiations at the next
Canada-EU summit. This is also vital for the well-being of our citizens and
the competitiveness of our businesses", said Premier Charest.
    Agreements signed at the joint Cabinet meeting included a memorandum of
understanding on a regional "cap and trade" system that will contribute to the
reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. The cap and
trade system would be based on absolute reductions in emissions and be
compatible with systems emerging in North America and the world.
    As well, a memorandum of understanding covering cooperation on energy,
and cooperation protocols on social services and youth were also signed by the
two provinces.
    The Cabinets also discussed work on the Continental Gateway and Trade
Corridor and how a high-speed train within the Québec City-Windsor trade
corridor could strengthen the economy and improve the environment.
    "The progress we made today will help our people, our provinces and the
rest of Canada" said Premier McGuinty. "This was a historic event. But it was
more than that - we had real work to do and today's meeting will deliver real
results, strengthen our regional economy and fight climate change."
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For further information:

For further information: Jane Almeida, Press Secretary, Office of
Ontario Premier, (416) 371-0583; Hugo D'Amours, Press Secretary, Office of
Quebec Premier, (418) 643-5321

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CABINET DU PREMIER MINISTRE, RESPONSABLE DES DOSSIERS JEUNESSE

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