Regional Actors in the Canada-United States Relationship

Article excerpt

Session Chair--Selma Lussenburg

United States Speaker--Kathryn Friedman

United States Speaker--Ed Wolking

INTRODUCTION

MS. LUSSENBURG: We have the enviable, or unenviable, position of being the last panel of the day before you are released, so we will do our best to move along quickly and make this as interesting and informative as possible, so as to keep you engaged. Therefore, I would like to start by thanking you for staying. Our topic today is looking at the role for regional actors. One of the questions we have before us is: how do we incorporate regional actors into Canada-United States governance? They are distinct; they are different from durable entities, yet they play a very significant role in the trade between Canada and the United States. (l) We are very fortunate to have two excellent speakers who bring very different experiences and perspectives to our discussion today. We have Kathryn Friedman (2) to my immediate right, or Katie, as I understand she likes to be called, who brings a policy perspective and economic analysis to Canada-United States trade and the role of regional actors. We have Ed Wolking, (3) who has a plethora of experience in the business sector working with chambers of commerce. (4) I would like to introduce each very briefly. I would also bring to your attention that there is a lengthier biography for each of our speakers in the brochure so I am not going to try to repeat everything that's in there. Katie is Deputy Director of the University at the Buffalo Regional Institute. (5) She has fulfilled that role since 2006. She is responsible for strategic planning. (6) She oversees the Research Division, and directs the institute's bi-national programming. (7) Katie frequently speaks on bi-national and international legal issues to business and academic audiences. (8) She is also a practicing lawyer, adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo, (9) where she teaches International Trade and North American Free Trade courses. (10) Interestingly, at least to me, she is a member of the Advisory Council for the Niagara Observatory at Brock University (11) and also on the panel for Women in International Security (12) and the Small Business Association International Trade Task Force. (13)

Ed comes to us from the business community. He is presently Executive Vice President of the Detroit Regional Chamber. (14) He is also President of the Great Lakes Manufacturing Council. He has over 35 years of experience in the business community. (15) His responsibilities are many and include, fostering growth in membership and resources through new products and collaborations with other organizations, membership affinity programs, and the development of highly successful affinity products and small group health insurance. (16) Ed told me that his health biography was what we find in the brochure that was handed out today, but I have to assure you that he has significant experience in the manufacturing sector where he is, as I mentioned, the President of the Great Lakes Manufacturing Council.

To return to our topic for today, we are going to start with Katie, who will frame the discussion in terms of governance and provide an interdisciplinary context to the role of regional actors. Ed will focus on two current regional initiatives, near and dear to us in this area, the Great Lakes Manufacturing Council and the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition. I would ask you as we listen to their presentations to consider the impact of federal, provincial, and state jurisdiction and legislation on these actors. Are they relevant? What is the role for our governments at the federal, state, and regional level to legislate or provide a governance framework for these organizations? Do we need a legal structure for this, or should we just allow freeform organizations? And what are the issues that arise when things do not work out between these organizations? I am going to leave it to Katie to start. …