Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hillary Clinton in Canada, 100th anniversary of the Boundary Waters Treaty

On Saturday, June 13th, Secretary Clinton flew to Canada to participate in the 100th anniversary of the Boundary Waters Treaty between the United States and Canada.

Dipnote wrote a great post about the event here, and I will quote some parts of their post here as well. Also, let me just note on the killer red pantsuit. Not to mention the fact that it matches with the Canadian flag... Great choice, Hillary!

The ceremony took place on the Rainbow Bridge overlooking Niagara Falls. According to Dipnote reports, the Secretary arrived early in the morning and proceeded directly to the bridge. Officials from both sides of the border — including Canadian Foreign Minister Cannon, legislators, governors, provincial premiers and mayors — were on hand for the celebration.

The main event began with a processional from both ends of the Rainbow Bridge. Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Cannon met in the middle of the bridge to shake hands. Secretary Clinton gave remarks and in them she noted that over the last 100 years, the Boundary Waters Treaty has successfully prevented and resolved boundary waters disputes between Canada and the United States. Thanks to the Boundary Waters Treaty, our two countries have been able to smoothly move forward with important projects including dams. Of equal importance, the Boundary Waters Treaty is an important vehicle through which the U.S. and Canada seek to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our shared waters.

Also during her remarks she made an important annoucement on a pact that hasn't been looked at since 1987. Yikes!

"I’m pleased to announce that Canada and the United States have agreed to update the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. We look forward to working closely with state, provincial, and local governments throughout Canada, as well as other stakeholders, in the coming months to produce an agreement that reflects our best knowledge and our unshakable commitment to preserving this vital natural resource.

Now, as we work together on this, we must also strengthen our response to other environmental threats, especially climate change, one of the most urgent problems facing our world which endangers our world’s water sources, the safety of coastal regions, the future of agriculture and health, and the stability of communities everywhere. It is a paramount threat, and it demands effective and bold action, which can only be achieved through partnership."

After her remarks she held a joint press conference. During which she spoke on how the United States will work with Canada to find a way to alleviate concerns surrounding the Buy American policy in the U.S. economic stimulus bill that some say is shutting Canadian firms out of lucrative contracts.

"I'm well aware of the concerns that there may be elements of the international trade obligations or absences of agreements that should be looked at so that we can promote more procurement and other kinds of trade interactions. I have assured Minister Cannon we will take a close look at that."
She also said the Buy American provision "isn't being enforced in any way that is inconsistent" with U.S. trade obligations. "We take that very seriously... Obviously, Canada is our No. 1 trading partner. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that we intend to not only nurture, but see grow."

Both Cannon and Clinton, after discussing the matter during their hour-long meeting in Niagara Falls, expressed optimism that a solution could be found.

On another heavy topic – Arctic sovereignty – the Secretary seemed to suggest Canada and the U.S. should work together to avoid a "free-for-all" in the polar region.

"There are issues of sovereignty and jurisdiction that have to be acknowledged and respected. But what we don't want is for the Arctic to become a free-for-all... If there's going to be greater maritime passageways, if there's going to be more exploration for natural resources, if there are going to be more security issues, I think it's in the Canadian and the United States' interests to try to get ahead of those."
Cannon said that progress is already being made through the Arctic Council, whose member states include Canada, the U.S. and Russia.

Dipnote reported that perhaps the most beautiful moments of the event were providing a beautiful tribute to the importance of our shared water resources to Native Americans and Canadians. A young man named Ryan, a member of the Tuscarora tribe, read from the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, a Native poem praising the Earth. The portion of the poem talking about water was particularly poignant. Ryan read:

“We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms — waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of water.”
Read the Secretary's full remarks here. Or you can read the full text of the press conference here.

You can watch some video of the event here!


Jackie said...

Hillary looks so good in that red suit. She looks happy.

Anonymous said...

After Canada she flew down to Wellesley for her 40th Reunion! There were a lovely pair of pumps that went with this suit that you can't see in these photos.

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