Ontario Senator Bob Runciman will sit down with New York State Senators Patty Ritchie and Joseph Griffo here on Friday to discuss how legislators in border communities can work together to solve problems and boost the region.
Ogdensburg - Oct. 5, 2011 - Ontario Senator Bob Runciman will sit down with New York State Senators Patty Ritchie and Joseph Griffo here on Friday to discuss how legislators in border communities can work together to solve problems and boost the region.
It will be the first meeting of a new bi-national, bipartisan group spear-headed by Runciman and Ritchie following the arrest of a U.S. fisherman who had strayed into Canadian waters in the summer.
“That incident reminded Senator Ritchie and I how interdependent the two countries are along the border and how important it is to have a regular dialogue to discuss matters of mutual concern,” Senator Runciman said.
“This initiative will help open new lines of communication and create a chance to explore new opportunities that can benefit both New York and Canada,” Senator Ritchie said.
Friday’s founding meeting will take place at the Frederic Remington Museum in Ogdensburg. Media are welcome to join them at 12:40 p.m. at the museum.
In subsequent meetings, Runciman will be joined at the table by Leeds-Grenville MP Gord Brown, Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark, Kingston and the Islands MP Ted Hsu, and Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry MP Guy Lauzon. Other border legislators may also eventually join. On the U.S. side, 11 New York State senators have agreed to participate.
Runciman hopes the committee can advocate for policies that promote tourism and economic development in the region. For example, he would like to see legislators unite to push for a water levels policy that benefits tourism, recreational boating and the environment in the Thousand Islands.
“Northern New York and Eastern Ontario share not just a common border, but face the same challenges and opportunities. It makes economic sense to look for joint solutions,” Runciman said. “And the people in border communities are not just neighbours, but we’re good friends, too. I see this group as a way to reinforce that message.”
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