A Review of the Leaders Summit in Cancun
April 10, 2021

Week of April 10 – April 14, 2021  

Prime Minister Harper recently returned from a two-day North American Leaders Summit, which was hosted by Mexican President, Vincente Fox, in Cancun, Mexico. Each year, the three heads of government representing Canada, the United States, and Mexico meet to discuss important issues, such as trade, terrorism, border and immigration problems that affect all three countries. There were many issues on the agenda for this year’s Summit and I would like to review what was accomplished by Canada during Prime Minister Harper’s trip.

During the Summit, the leaders discussed and renewed their commitment to a trilateral Canada-U.S.-Mexico co-operation with a particular emphasis on shared security, prosperity, and quality-of-life objectives (the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America or SPP). The SPP establishes the framework to ensure that North America remains the safest and best place to live and do business, through greater co-operation between governments and information-sharing.

In addition to the SPP, the leaders identified key priorities for their governments. One of those priorities is to establish a North American Competitiveness Council. The Council is to be made up of business representatives, as well as representatives from the three governments, to provide businesses a voice with respect to identifying initiatives that would be most relevant to creating a more competitive market.
Another topic of significant importance during the Summit was efforts to develop smarter and safer borders. This will be achieved by enacting special measures focusing on increased law enforcement co-operation and reducing border showdowns affecting legitimate trade flow. In particular, measures will include a single integrated North American trusted traveler program, and swift law enforcement responses to threats posed by criminals and terrorists.

The three leaders also made a strong commitment to increasing co-operation between the three countries when natural or man-made disasters strike. There was special emphasis placed on a coordinated approach to address the avian flu and human pandemic influenza, which is a rising concern in all three our countries.

Trade was another topic of great discussion in Mexico. Prime Minister Harper had considerable discussions with both President Bush and President Fox on important trade issues and reviewed the Canada Mexico Partnership. The conclusion of these discussions led to a shared interest in building on the Partnership.

Last but not least, the leaders acknowledged that a sustainable, secure, and affordable supply of energy is crucial to the survival of the North American economy. The three leaders renewed their commitment to a trilateral co-operation on clean energy technologies, conservation, and market facilitation, as a means to meeting our shared goals of energy security and sustainable development.

After reviewing the outcomes of the Leaders Summit, I too believe a great deal was achieved and significant priorities were identified. The priorities are relevant and achievable, which is a significant accomplishment in itself, and will hopefully also result in a strengthened relationship between our countries.

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