(WINDSOR, ON) – The Great Lakes and St Lawrence Governors and Premiers Summit kicked off today when co-hosts, Michigan and Ontario, presented a press conference at the Art Gallery of Windsor, over-looking the Detroit River. Representatives of eight states and two provinces are meeting to discuss how to propel the region’s growth and promote international opportunities.
With an eye toward trade, tourism, and transportation, the coalition has already passed a number of resolutions, including the collaboration on autonomous shipping and vehicles, a commitment to guard against invasive aquatic species, the promotion of cross-border trade, and the management of the Great Lakes and St Lawrence as a harmonized transportation system.
“We have to make sure we protect, enhance, and enjoy these wonderful waters,” said Michigan governor Rick Snyder. “They’re one of the greatest assets in the world. We should be proud of that.”
The economic goals of the summit are to enhance competitiveness, grow the regional economy, and create jobs by further pursuing international trade, upgrading maritime transportation, and marketing the region’s tourism destinations.
On the environmental side of the house, the governors and premiers are seeking to improve water quality and the protection against algae blooms.
“We’re here together to work across the borders at a time when one of the cornerstones of our cross the border partnership is at stake,” said Ontario premier Wynne. “At this moment in our history it is even more important that we demonstrate how important it is to work across those borders.”
The summit will continue with two days of meetings and negotiation in Detroit.
“If you step back and look at things, we’re an economic powerhouse, when you combine us together,” said Snyder. “We’re one of the largest economies in the world…This is really about a true partnership on the Canadian side and the US side.”