Premiers of Quebec and Ontario share collective vision at Ontario Economic Summit



    NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON, Oct. 3 /CNW/ - In an historic meeting Premier
Dalton McGuinty and Premier Jean Charest spoke to delegates of the Ontario
Economic Summit about their ambition to create a stronger economic partnership
in Central Canada.
    As the final segment of the 5th annual Ontario Economic Summit, an
initiative of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Premiers were led in
conversation by veteran journalist Allan Gregg.
    Amid a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the summit brought together 250
leaders of business, labour, academia, the non-profit sector, and government
to identify opportunities for Ontario to build a stronger, more resilient
economy.
    The Premiers emphasized the need to work collaboratively on major
infrastructure projects including the rapid rail link from Quebec City to
Windsor.
    "A little dose of ambition for Canada would not be a bad thing,"
emphasized Charest.
    Later when speaking with reporters, Premier McGuinty, explained that the
rail link would be more than symbolic; it would help to facilitate stronger
ties between businesses in the provinces, one weapon in the fight to break
down commercial and regulatory barriers.
    New trade opportunities for Central Canada with the European Union were
also identified by the Premiers as important steps towards economic renewal.
This was a common theme during the summit's three days of deliberations. "An
increased global profile for Ontario and Canada was repeatedly identified by
delegates as an opportunity for future development," explains Len Crispino,
President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
    "In spite of the clear transformation we're facing in the Ontario
economy," added Crispino, "and the obvious hardships this is creating for
communities throughout Ontario, discussions at the summit uncovered many areas
of exciting opportunity for the province including trade with non-traditional
trading partners like the developing countries in Africa, new and emerging
environmental technology and the innovations being developed by Ontario
companies, the untapped potential of internationally experienced workers, and
similarly the underutilized resource of our aboriginal workforce here in
Canada."
    On the subject of fair federal transfer payments, an issue raised by the
Ontario Chamber of Commerce in its Act Now for Ontario campaign, and echoed in
Premier Dalton McGuinty's fairness struggle, Premier Charest didn't oppose
Ontario's efforts, despite the fact that Quebec is a recipient of
equalization.
    "It's not the province of Quebec who's going to fault anyone for
defending their province," said Premier Charest. "I happen to do it too."
    The Ontario Economic Summit also benefited from the participation of
twenty-two Ontario cabinet ministers as well as distinguished speakers
including:

    
    -  John Tory, Leader of the PC Party of Ontario;
    -  Robert Shiller, Yale Economics Professor and Author of "Irrational
       Exuberance" and "The Subprime Solution";
    -  Stephen Lewis, Advocate on Social Justice;
    -  Thomas Homer-Dixon, Global Affairs Expert and bestselling author of
       "The Upside of Down" and "The Ingenuity Gap";
    -  Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer, Open Text
       Corporation; and,
    -  Alexandra Dagg, Executive Vice-President and Canadian Co-Director,
       UNITE HERE.
    

    The summit took place in Niagara-on-the-Lake from September 30 to October
2, 2008.

    For more information, visit www.occ-oes.com.





For further information:

For further information: Amy Terrill, (416) 605-8205 (cell),
amyterrill@occ.on.ca

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ONTARIO ECONOMIC SUMMIT

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