Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the 100th Anniversary of the Boundary Waters Treaty
Photographs taken by Harry Skull Jr.
Remarks With Canadian Foreign Minister Cannon
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
13 June, 2009
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Canada and the United States have committed this morning to amending the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. This is important for both nations. These inland waters are the largest system of fresh water in the world, a foundation for billions of dollars in trade, shipping, agriculture, recreation, of course, and other sectors. The Government of Canada has taken significant efforts in the past three years to protect the Great Lakes, and today, this joint stewardship of the environment represents a cornerstone of the Canada-United States relationship. This aspect of our long history of collaboration will remain strong as we begin a second century of jointly managing our shared waters. The agreement has been a model of international cooperation and has achieved numerous successes.
However, as you know, the Great Lakes are still at risk and need more to be done. So we will be doing that together.
The Secretary of State and I also discussed the global economic downturn and the risks of protectionism, cooperation in the Americas, and Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan. Our country’s prosperity and security are inseparable from those of the United States. Americans, as you know, are our closest neighbors, allies, and trading partners.
(Via interpreter) Every day, there is trade to a value of $2 billion that cross our common border from Canada. And Canada is the first export market for 35 of 50 of the American states.
People are worried by a rising tide of protectionism developing in the United States in various circles, and our government is very concerned, in particular, about the negative impacts of Buy America legislation being felt on Canadian businesses. Now, Canada’s and the United State’s shared history demonstrated we can do great things. When we work together, we are able to, of course, serve our mutual interests. Now, this is crucial as we are engaged in emerging from this crisis, and we want to be able to emerge from this crisis stronger, better, and, of course, in a more prosperous manner.
Thank you. Merci.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Minister Cannon.
I’ve had a delightful morning here, and I want to thank my Canadian hosts, especially Foreign Minister Cannon, the members of the International Joint Commission, and the many distinguished colleagues from both sides of the border who have made this celebration so memorable.
We are celebrating, because the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Boundary Waters Treaty marks a recognition of a ground-breaking agreement, one of the first in the world to recognize the environmental consequences of managing our natural resources, ensuring clean drinking water, protecting the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system, the Niagara Falls and Niagara River that are such magnificent treasures. So for me, it’s a particular delight both to have been back in Western New York; many friends from Niagara and Erie counties -- I just am delighted to see them, but also to be here in Canada, because Canada is such a trusted ally, a friend, a valued trading partner and a democratic model for the world.
This treaty, which we have celebrated, is not a static document. It’s a living instrument of our cooperation and partnership. It has provided an effective framework for the last 100 years, but now we have to take stock of where we are and how we’re going to be proceeding with confidence and effectiveness into the future. As we look at the strong foundation that this treaty has helped to establish between our countries, it’s truly remarkable: $1.6 billion in goods that flow across the border everyday, supporting millions of jobs; the world’s largest energy-trading relationship. I want to underscore that, because I’m not sure that enough Americans know, Minister Cannon, that you are our number one supplier of energy in the world, and we are grateful for that. We collaborate closely on citizen safety and defense, and, as both the Minister and I have noted, we have soldiers serving side-by-side together in Afghanistan to try to prevent the spread of terrorism and extremism.
So our common values are deeply rooted. But we have to work together even more closely. After this morning’s ceremony, the Minister and I had a chance to review some of our other important matters. Obviously, we discussed international and global concerns that we are both deeply engaged in, and we discussed our nation’s plan to revise and update the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to protect the Great Lakes Basin for future generations. We reviewed our joint efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe. We discussed the challenges in Pakistan, the Middle East, Iran, and elsewhere. We talked about our equal commitment to our own hemisphere, and I’m very grateful for the Canadian Government and the Minister’s particular emphasis on working with us in Haiti, working to strengthen our relationships with our neighbors to the south.
We also have been very focused on ensuring that nothing interferes with the trade between our countries. I deeply respect the Minister’s comments and his concerns, but as President Obama said, nothing in our legislation will interfere with our international trade obligations, including with Canada. But we want to take a hard look, and the Minister and I discussed this, as to what more we can do to ensure that the free flow of trade continues. We consider it to be in the interests of both of our countries and our people.
So as always, it’s great to be in Canada, and we deeply appreciate our close working relationship the Minister and I have forged over a relatively short period of time, and we look forward to continuing close collaboration and cooperation. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: We watched closely the enthusiasm and the very vigorous debate and dialogue that occurred in the lead-up to the Iranian elections. We are monitoring the situation as it unfolds in Iran.
But we, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide. The United States has refrained from commenting on the election in Iran. We obviously hope that the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: For Canada, on behalf of Canada, Canada is deeply concerned by reports of voting irregularities in the Iranian election. We’re troubled by reports of intimidation of opposition candidate’s offices by security forces. We’ve tasked our embassy officials to – in Tehran to closely monitor the situation, and Canada is calling on Iranian authorities to conduct fair and transparent counting of all ballots.
(Via Interpreter) According to (inaudible) irregularities in the Iranian election, we are also deeply concerned with reports according to which there might have been intimidation, intimidation against opposition candidate’s offices, for instance; amongst them would be intimidation by security officials. I therefore asked our people in Tehran and officers in the Canadian embassy to follow the development very closely. And finally, we hope – we hope with a great deal of vigor that the counting of ballots be done transparently and that all the ballots that have been used during this election be indeed counted.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, welcome to Canada.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
QUESTION: Canada’s government and many Canadian businesses have said that our economy and our bilateral relationship is being hurt by the Buy American policy. Secretary Clinton, why is it in there, and if you don’t call it protectionism, what is it? And to Minister Cannon, how deeply is this hurting Canada’s economy and our relationship with the United States?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me just reiterate that the provision is not being enforced in any way that is inconsistent with our international trade obligations. And we take that very seriously. Obviously, Canada is our number one trading partner. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that we intend to not only nurture, but see grow.
And I am 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. And I have assured Minister Cannon that we will take a very close look at that.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Thank you. On – I was able this morning to bring Secretary of State Clinton up-to-date, up-to-speed on the Prime Minister’s visit last week to – with Premier Charest, who, as you know, is the premier responsible for the Council of the Federation. This issue was discussed. As you know, the premiers have agreed to look at the procurement issue as being one of importance. My colleague, Minister Day, as well, did go and travel to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, so I was able to bring the Secretary of State to – up-to-speed on this issue, and at the same time, get assurances that we would look to find different options to make sure that what we already have built in terms of a solid foundation continue – can continue to flourish and to prevail.
So we still have work ahead of us, and we’re looking forward to doing that.
(Via interpreter) -- I had the opportunity to indicate to Secretary of State Clinton and bring her up-to-speed on the recent meeting with Premier Charest. Well, as the premiers, members of the Council of the Federation, Premier Charest being the chair, and the commitment from all premiers to look at the whole issue of procurement and public expenditures so that such expenditures be part and parcel of perhaps even an agreement with the Americans.
My colleague, Minister Stockwell Day, took the same undertaking with the Canadian Federation of Municipalities. So this enabled me to allude to these events with the Secretary of State, and also enabled me, by the same token, to look at what options might be open to us in upcoming months. As I mentioned a moment ago, there is a very solid basis upon which we can work; indeed, there are other issues to be worked on, but – and that we’ve always been able to reach an agreement with the Americans on a number of topics. I don’t think this impediment is a major one, and we will continue our dialogue.
SECRETARY CLINTON: First, let me say how gratified we were that the United Nations Security Council reached and agreement on a very strong resolution that contains not only new sanctions and the authorization for inspections of ships that may be carrying contraband or weapons of mass destruction or other dangerous technology from North Korea, but that the resolution represented a unified response to the provocative actions that have been taken by the North Koreans over the last several months.
This was a tremendous statement on behalf of the world community that North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the capacity to deliver those weapons through missiles is not going to be accepted by the neighbors, as well as the greater international community. We intend to work with our partners, including Canada and others, to enforce the provisions of this resolution in a vigorous way, to send a clear message that we intend to do all we can to prevent continued proliferation by the North Koreas.
I will add, however, that the North Korean’s continuing provocative actions are deeply regrettable. They have now been denounced by everyone. They have become further isolated, and it is not in the interests of the people of North Korea for that kind of isolation to continue. So the Six-Party Framework, which the North Koreans left, turning their back on the obligations to continue with denuclearization, is still an open opportunity for them to return. And we are going to be consulting closely with our friends and allies, not only in Northeast Asia, but more generally, to determine a way forward in response to further actions.
But I think these sanctions and the authorizations included in this resolution give the world community the tools we need to take appropriate action against the North Korean regime.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Canada already, of course, abides by Resolution 1718 that was passed in 2006. And we’ve implemented that resolution and the binding sanctions, of course, that were introduced.
We as well are very – and we welcome the additional imposition of – by Resolution 1874. Canada, of course, is very, very pleased that the world community has come together in a united response at the (inaudible) to be able to signal to the international – to North Korea the international community’s determination that their recent conduct is inacceptable. So we’re very pleased by this Security Council resolution, as well.
We’re also pleased by the new resolution’s calls upon North Korea to return immediately to the Six-Party Talks and to demand, of course, that these talks that are extremely important in terms of nonproliferation and the use of nuclear weapons get going.
(Via interpreter) Canada, of course, is very much abiding by Resolution 1718 that was adopted in 2006, and we are very happy with that recent resolution, adopted by the UN Security Council. Canada will apply with determination all the provisions contained therein. For that matter, we’re delighted to see that the international community has sent a very clear signal to North Korea. And will add, by way of conclusion, that for our part, it’s important that the discussions amongst the six parties resume as quickly as possible, and we’re delighted that this resolution also calls upon the Government of North Korea to go back to the negotiating table, so that we might limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m sorry, and what?
SECRETARY CLINTON: First, with respect to our shared border, there is certainly no argument that we each have to take additional security steps, given conditions in the world. I mean, I think we both regret those. We are sorry that we have to respond to them, but nevertheless, that is the reality. And we are doing everything we can in the Obama Administration to listen and work with our Canadian counterparts.
There have been several very productive discussions already between our Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and her Canadian counterpart. Because we know that we want to maintain this extraordinary relationship that we have with the right amount of security to protect our citizens on both sides, without interfering in the free movement of goods and people that we value so greatly.
Sometimes we need to help each other really understand fully the challenges that we are each facing to make sure we achieve that common goal. I would still argue that although we do have law enforcement on our border in greater numbers than we did ten years ago, compared to a border that I know of anywhere, just about, in the world, this is a demilitarized, free, open border with appropriate law enforcement personnel and technology in the interest of protecting our two peoples.
So we will work very closely with the Canadian Government, and we will try to solve problems that have arisen between our governments in the past to make sure that we are doing what we need to do with security in a way that does not interfere with all of the other interests that we share.
We are both members of the Arctic Council. We, and Canada, with its very extensive presence on the Arctic waters, along with Russia, Norway, and -- Denmark, right? – are the members of the Arctic Council. We want to work closely together. We want to foresee issues and try to resolve them so that they don’t become problems. And we feel, as one of the five nations working with the others, that we have an opportunity here, and we intend to take this very seriously. Obviously, there are questions 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 is going to be greater maritime passageways through the Arctic, if there is 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, and try to make sure we know what we’re going to do to resolve them before countries that are not bordering the arctic are making claims, are behaving in ways that will cause us difficulties.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Let me respond by saying at the outset how very pleased I was one of the first initiatives that Secretary of State Clinton took on was to be able to host the Antarctica Joint Arctic Council Meeting in Washington a couple of months ago, which was, I think, a strong indication, once again, of our country’s commitment to not only this border here, but, of course, to our northern border. And what I can say on that is that there are no obstacles. We have been able to manage the issues as it should be between the two neighbors. We, of course, as a country, as well as the United States, Russia, and the other members of the Arctic Council, have agreed to abide by, of course, the United Nations Convention, the Law of the Seas, to go forward and do the mapping. We’ve been able to, as a Canadian Government, assume our responsibilities, assert our responsibilities in terms of sovereignty by our infrastructure programs.
So from that perspective, it’s going extraordinarily well, as well as, as Hillary Clinton just mentioned, Peter Van Loan, who, as you know, is our minister responsible for – I was going to say homeland security, but for border crossings and has worked extremely well with the Secretary of State, Secretary Napolitano, over the course of the last several weeks. They’ve established a working relationship, which I feel is something that is extraordinarily good in terms of moving forward. And so I’d say that on that front as well, things are going very, very well.
(Via interpreter) Briefly, I would say this: I congratulated Secretary of State Clinton for the initiative she took at the very outset of her mandate, and by convening in Washington a joint meeting between the Arctic Council and the Antarctica Council. At that time, we were able to examine a variety of subjects that arise in the extremities of the globe. And as I mentioned, we were – we have always been able to manage our difficulties in a very positive, healthy manner. That is what exists in the arctic part of our country.
We are members of the Arctic Council with three other countries. We are committed into various provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas. We have also noted, with a great deal of satisfaction and interest, the work that is being done by Minister Peter Van Loan, who is the minister responsible for public safety here in Canada, as well as with the American Secretary for Homeland Security, Mrs. Napolitano, to deal with issues that arise in common to both our countries. In that regard, many steps are being taken. So we’re very happy with the progress that has been made.
And I will tell you, by way of conclusion, that the relationship between Canada and the U.S. again continues to shine, and it is a real breath of fresh air and a ray of sunshine for many countries in the world when we want to see how borders should be managed and the relationship between two countries. We are great, great friends.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you all.
FOREIGN MINISTER CANNON: Thank you. Merci.