Pierre Marc Johnson, Quebec’s CETA negotiator
The annual International Economic Forum of the Americas/ Conference of Montreal is happening this June 6-9 at the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel. Keynote speakers this year will include Michel Barnier of the European Commission, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria, former Bolivian president Mesa Gisbert, and Suez CEO Gerard Mestrallet.
The conference will cover many issues – including health care and natural resources – but notably on Wednesday June 8 at 7:30 am there will be a session titled, ‘Canada-Europe Free Trade Talks: What Stage Are We Currently At?’. According to the conference website, “Canada and Europe are two traditional centres of commercial and financial importance. Many discussions have taken place about achieving a next generation free-trade agreement, with real economic and trade consequences. What stage of negotiations are we currently in? What legal challenges stand in the way of these two partners?”
The speakers at this session will be Ana Renart, Deputy Chief Trade Negotiator, Canada-European Union; and Maurizio Cellini, Head of the Economic and Commercial Section, European Union Delegation to Canada; and comments will be given by Pierre Marc Johnson, Counsel, Heenan Blaikie, and Chief Negotiator for the Government of Québec for CETA. The session will be moderated by Pierre Lortie, Senior Business Advisor at Fraser Milner Casgrain.
And as noted in their recent media release, “The Conference of Montreal thanks its partners: Power Corporation of Canada, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), RBC Capital Markets, Rio Tinto Alcan, Cisco, Sanofi Aventis, Bell, GDF Suez, McKinsey & Company, SNC-Lavalin, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Hydro-Québec, Investissement Québec, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), BNP Paribas Canada, Total, Garda, Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC), Export Development Canada (EDC), Aecon, Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche, Tourisme Montréal, the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec, HEC Montréal, Montréal International, CBC News, the Financial Post and La Presse. The Conference of Montreal is a non-profit organization and as such receives support from the Government of Canada, the Government of Quebec and other public bodies.”
In response, the ‘Coalition opposed the tariffs and the privatization of public services’ (la Coalition opposée à la tarification et à la privatisation des services publics) – which is comprised of about 180 Quebec-based organizations – is organizing a demonstration against the Conference on Monday June 6 at 11:30 am in front of the Hilton Bonaventure (at the corner of La Gauchetière and Mansfield). They will be there to denounce CETA and demand that the Canada-EU negotiations cease immediately.
The Council of Canadians will join this protest. More details on that soon.
For more information on the Conference of Montreal, go to http://www.conferencedemontreal.com/en/.