CANADA:Some Thoughts on Chicagoland’s Closest Neighbour with Hon. Georges Rioux, Consul General of Canada in Chicago


CANADA:Some Thoughts on Chicagoland’s
Closest Neighbour

Georges Rioux: Creating Human Capital is what Niagara Foundation In To
Niagara Foundation is determined and aim to build dialogues not only with religious, ethnic communities, public schools, universities or business institutions, but also political institutions like consulates to Chicago. Almost becoming a weekly favorite venue for certain people, Niagara Foundation again honored to host another honorable person, His Excellency George Rioux, Consul General of Canada to Chicago. As always, people from different communities, institutions, universities, schools, churches and consulates kept coming in and getting prepared for the event. Honorable George Rioux, Consul General, would address the audience on topic of “Some thoughts on Canada – the closest neighbor of Chicago land”. Profile and number of participants showed the high level of interest on the topic and significance of the keynote speaker.

The Associate Director of Niagara Foundation, M. Hilmi Cinar, presented Honorable George Rioux’s resume. Mr. Rioux thanked audience for coming to the event. He was giving a presentation about Canada. He complained about the news that is not out immediately for his use about Canada, too so that he is forced to use obsolete data. Consul General’s topic was Canadian Human Capital. “Creating Human Capital is what everyone wants to see today and this is what Niagara Foundation in to.

Georges Rioux employed a lot of statistics about American-Canada trade relationship and he was keeping emphasizing the importance of not only having good and tight trade relationships, but also friendship and integration in to American society.

“Canada today has 31.6 million people; 12 million is in Ontario and 7 million is in Quebec. If we were to look at the number for Chicago land, roughly the same proportion for the age group would be same. Our internal population is growing and it is a little bit lower than the USA” said Mr. Rioux. According to Mr. Rioux, Canada is located in 10 urban major locations. What we have seen is that growth has been concentrated in top 6 cities. “We grow 6 % annually. You have about 1.5 billion good and services crossing borders everyday, providing 7 million US jobs. Selling things to each other is not really the case, but building friendship and being together is of huge importance” told Mr. Rioux.

25 % of trade is intra-company trade, integration and manufacture. Canada and the US share the world’s largest and most comprehensive trading relationship. Benefits and challenges, huge learning infrastructure, making benefits portable are just few examples of what Canada sought to implement. Canada supplied 16 percent of U.S. imports of crude and refined oil products – more than any other country at over two million barrels a day. Canada provided 85 percent of all U.S. natural gas imports and approximately 27 percent of the uranium used in U.S. nuclear power plants. Immigrants made up the vast majority of the 1.6 million new Canadians between 2001 and 2006, giving the country the highest population growth rate among G8 countries. Immigrants account for more than 70% of all Canadian labor force growth, a proportion that will grow to 100% in the next 10 years. Canada’s recent immigration levels have been double those of the United States.

Roughly 1.2 million new immigrants made up the bulk of the population growth in the latest census, while the country’s native-born population increased by 400,000. The aim is to create a forum in which the experience of immigration — from the municipal point of view — can play a greater role in informing the policy making process

“Michigan is the largest component of trade; it also possesses the largest virtue of automobiles. Numbers are pretty significant in this sphere and Canada is number one trading partner for the USA. When we look at numbers of jobs supported because of trade, it is significant, it is evenly distributed. There is a lot of integration. Midwest is really where we have bulk of imports and exports that we are coming in. This applies to some of other regions, too” added Mr. Rioux.

Canada is also engaged into many activities on Great Lakes area, a lot of efforts and quality works in water filtering have been undertaken. “One thing is increasingly an issue for us is that we are challenged by human resources. We are doing learning opportunities and making sure that our kids will be good” stressed Mr. Rioux.

Mr. Rioux emphasized that we will beat up to have better mobility and trade. Largest concentration of universities and research institutions are in the Midwest, you can see that we have one of the best networks of universities. We are very fortunate; there are a lot of relationships with those institutions. “Issue is energy, though” complained Mr. Rioux, that’s why “Canada is the largest energy suppliers to the USA and it has $ 179 billion worth reserves.

“There is a lot of investment and building infrastructure. In 2004, Canada exported $ 60 billion energy to the USA. We did with 2 million barrels a day. 27 % of uranium has been also exported to the USA. This numbers are growing. There are 25 pipelines crossing the borders” stressed Mr. Rioux.

After his speech, Mr. Georges Rioux addressed the questions related to diversity, immigration and oil issues from the audience. After the speech, M. Hilmi Cinar gave a very valuable gift to Honorable Consul General, His Excellency George Rioux.

While having delicious, home-made Turkish lunch with participants, Georges Rioux said that “this forum initiative is a great idea and you had important people speaking over here. It is a great idea where people come together and talk about important issues. I am impressed by your event, impressed by the people. We should find ways to bring more people together. I think this is great and you are playing great role in the community” in his interview to Niagara Foundation Media Department.

Thursday-March 15, 2007

11:30am- 1:00pm

205 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 4240
Chicago, IL, US, 60601

The views and opinions expressed on The Falls are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Niagara Foundation, its staff, other authors, members, partners, or sponsors.