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Stephane Lessard, Canadian consul

STEPHANE LESSARD

For more than 150 years, Canada and the United States have enjoyed a strong bilateral relationship, grounded in our shared security and prosperity. This week, as we celebrate our respective national holidays (July 1 and July 4), it is my hope that our American brothers and sisters will join me in a moment of appreciation of this special relationship.

We are fortunate to have one another as neighbours. At home and abroad, Canada’s military men and women serve alongside their U.S. peers, securing North America and advancing our shared interests and values around the world. This includes the sharing of visa and immigration information, implementing measures to secure our joint border, and working together in NORAD—the North American Aerospace Defence Command that last year celebrated 60 years of partnership.

As consul general, I have come to realize that the interconnections between our two countries know no bounds. Much has been made of our extensive trade relationship these past couple of years, and for good reason; the linkages that we have fostered have resulted in a trillion dollar trade and investment relationship that has allowed our two nations to prosper, making for the most successful, free, fair, and balanced partnership in the world.

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Last year, Canada and Montana traded more than $4.68 billion (USD) in goods alone, and now we find ourselves with an opportunity to bring NAFTA into the 21st century by ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This new agreement builds on existing successes, implements much-needed labour protections, and will help ensure the benefits of trade will be more widely shared for the benefit of both of our citizenries.

Canada is the United States’ largest and most secure energy supplier. Our energy infrastructure and commitment to innovation contributes to economic growth and good jobs on both sides of the border. As we use our resources to power both of our countries, we also share a deep resolve to protect our continent’s natural beauty through sound environmental stewardship.

Know that this July 1st, as I celebrated Canada’s 152nd birthday with my family and you celebrated the Fourth of July with yours, I will be giving thanks for having a strong, secure and reliable neighbour across the 49th parallel. I hope you will do the same.

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Based in Denver, Consul General Stéphane Lessard is the Canadian federal government’s representative in the U.S. Mountain West and Kansas. 

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Opinion Editor

Opinion editor for The Billings Gazette.