QUEBEC CITY, Dec. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Québec and Vermont have agreed to
cooperate in seeking an alternative to the passport under the Western
Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Both jurisdictions will work together,
and with their federal governments, to provide enhanced driver's licences, by
the end of 2008, which would be used instead of a passport when entering the
United States. Use of the enhanced driver's license would be voluntary.
"The enhanced driver's licence will allow us to provide security at the
border and ease of entry," said Vermont Governor James Douglas.
Québec Premier Jean Charest stated that "this is the most promising
option since many citizens already possess a driver's licence."
Both Governor Douglas and Premier Charest agreed that while a secure
border is important, new border measures must not threaten the prosperity of
the two partners, negatively impact border communities or be a barrier to
trade or tourism.
Québec and Vermont will focus in particular on best practices to
implement their respective enhanced driver's licence programs. Under WHTI,
Americans and Canadians must have a passport or other officially recognized
document to enter the United States. A passport is currently required for air
travel to the United States but could also be required to enter the
United States by land and sea in summer 2008.
Premier Charest and Governor Douglas also took stock of progress in the
implementation of the multisectoral Cooperation Agreement signed in December
2003. That agreement targets closer cooperation between Québec and Vermont in
several areas, including the clean-up and protection of cross-border
waterways, improvements to highway networks, and regional solutions to climate
In addition to being co-signatories of a bilateral agreement, Vermont and
Québec are major allies in the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern
Canadian Premiers (CNEG/ECP) on regional issues such as the WHTI, energy and
For further information:
For further information: Hugo D'Amours, Press Attaché, Office of the
Premier, (418) 643-5321; Jason Gibbs, Press Secretary, Office of the Governor,