The Yukon Chamber of Commerce (YCC) hosted a meeting with the Honourable Bill Blair, Federal Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction for representatives of Chambers of Commerce and trade organizations in the Yukon. Attendees included representatives of the Yukon, Whitehorse, and Dawson City Chambers of Commerce, TIA Yukon, the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association, as well as First Nation Development Corporations and other Yukon business leaders.
The focus of Minister Blair’s comments was related to the recently-completed US/Mexico/Canada Trade Agreement, discussing the negotiating approaches taken by the Canadian Government, as well as the key areas of importance on which the government secured agreement. Minister Blair’s presentation was followed by a roundtable discussion between the minister and attending business representatives.
Yukon Chamber of Commerce Chair and Canadian Chamber of Commerce Board Member Stanley Noel opened the discussions by stressing that the many months of strain and uncertainty created by the free-trade negotiations must not be repeated. Noel stated that while we applaud the Canadian Government on reaching an agreement, the focus must quickly shift to positioning Canada to be in a stronger trading relationship with other nations, reducing our future dependence on the USA. While the US will likely remain Canadas largest trading partner, we cannot allow future US administrations to think we are solely dependent on, and hostage to, US trade.
Yukon Chamber of Commerce President Peter Turner added, “The meeting with Minister Blair also allowed us to raise with him local issues that impact the business community and the Government of Yukon. One is exploring extending hours of Canada/US border operations to facilitate increased commercial and tourist cross-border traffic Another is engaging with the US Government to restore US funding of the Shakwak Agreement, which has helped fund road maintenance and repair of Yukon highways servicing Alaska. Minister Blair said he would carry the message to Washington where he meets with US officials later this month.”