Minister Pupatello And Minister Bachand Appoint Their Chief Negotiators

    Jim Peterson To Represent Ontario; Michel Audet To Represent Québec

    TORONTO and QUEBEC CITY, Dec. 19 /CNW/ - Sandra Pupatello, Ontario
Minister of Economic Development and Trade, and Raymond Bachand, Québec
Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, today announced
the appointment of Chief Negotiators to begin negotiating an expanded accord
to strengthen the economies of Ontario and Québec.
    "We are delighted to announce that former federal Minister of
International Trade Jim Peterson will represent Ontario during these
negotiations," said Minister Pupatello. "With his considerable government and
legal expertise, Mr. Peterson is the ideal candidate to negotiate an agreement
that will enhance the strong relationship that exists between the people of
Ontario and Québec and foster closer cooperation to make both provinces more
    "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Michel Audet as chief
negotiator for Québec," said Minister Bachand. "Mr. Audet's extensive
experience and training make him an excellent choice for negotiating Québec's
objectives. His expertise and tact will surely lead to stronger economic ties
between Québec and Ontario, which already form the largest trading bloc in
    Mr. Peterson and Mr. Audet will assume their posts immediately. Among
their first tasks will be to agree on a timetable for the negotiations and to
consult with interested parties.

    Jim Peterson, chief negotiator for Ontario

    The Honourable James S. Peterson P.C. served as federal Minister of
International Trade between 2003 and 2006 and, until his retirement from the
House of Commons in 2007, served as Member of Parliament for Willowdale
(Toronto) for 23 years. While Minister, he represented Canada at the World
Trade Organization's Doha round of negotiations which focused on expanding
trade and investment in leading emerging markets including Brazil, Russia,
India and China, and dealt with complex issues related to trade with Canada's
NAFTA partners, the European Union, the Middle East and the Americas.
    Mr. Peterson is the author of numerous articles and studies for Canadian
and foreign publications on international business, investment, taxation and
fiscal policy and holds a Doctorate in Civil Law from McGill University. In
November 2007, Mr. Peterson joined law firm Fasken Martineau as Counsel.

    Michel Audet, chief negotiator for Québec

    A trained economist, Mr. Audet has worked as a senior public servant on
economic issues for the Québec government, notably as Assistant Deputy
Minister, Department of Energy and Resources from 1977 to 1979, and Department
of Industry, Commerce and Technology from 1979 to 1984. He was Québec's
Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development from 1986 to 1987, and
Deputy Minister, Department of Industry, Commerce and Technology from 1988 to
1992. He subsequently held the position of Assistant Deputy Minister,
Department of Finance from 1994 to 1997. Mr. Audet was appointed Minister of
Economic and Regional Development from 2003 to 2005, and Minister of Finance
from 2005 to 2007.
    The announcement follows the November 26 meeting between Ontario Premier
Dalton McGuinty and Québec Premier Jean Charest during which a joint
declaration was signed to begin negotiating an agreement to strengthen the
Ontario-Québec economic region, notably by eliminating barriers to labour
mobility, investment and trade.
    "Today's announcement is another step forward in eliminating barriers to
trade, investment and labour mobility, while maintaining the capacity of each
government to respond to circumstances in their respective provinces,"
concluded Ministers Pupatello and Bachand.

    Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Contacts: Flavio Volpe, Chief of Staff,
Minister's Office, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development & Trade, (416)
325-6907; Jolyane Pronovost, Press Secretary, Minister's Office, Québec
Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, (418) 691-5650

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