Welcoming remarks.

AuthorJacobson, David
Position35th Annual Henry T. King Conference: The US-Canadian Border Action Plan



Thank you very much for coming today. I believe this is the 35th annual Henry T. King Conference. (1) We have a very exciting conference scheduled for you today. First and foremost, I want to thank our keynote speaker, Ambassador Jacobson, (2) who you will hear from shortly. But this conference is really monumental, not just for the amazing speakers, but also for the topics discussed. It is hard to believe that just 200 years ago, actually 200 years ago this year, our nations could not have been farther apart. And now we are talking about rethinking our border, expanding it out to having one security perimeter. So it is really amazing. Now today we are going to talk all about that, but, before that, we have a lot of people who helped make today possible and I just briefly want to thank them. I want to thank our co-presidents, Dean Scott (3) and Dean Mitchell. (4) Our national directors, Professor Chi Carmody (5) and Professor Michael Scharf. (6) Our Executive Committee, led by Jim Blanchard (7) and Jim Peterson. (8) As well as our advisory board and academic center staffed by Nancy Pratt and her assistants, Jared Gregory, and Alice Simon. As well as all the students who help make today possible. And last but certainly not least, I need to thank our sponsors, because we would not be here without all of your help. We have included in the packet a colored print out list of those who are supportive of the Canada-United States Law Institute. Thank you very much.

Now at this time, I would like to turn the podium over to a very important person to the Institute and to both schools, Mr. James Blanchard. Jim has a long career in public service, as Ambassador to Canada, as a United States Representative, and as Governor of Michigan. (9) And one common thread in all of this is he cares deeply about Canada-United States relations. And while as an incoming Managing Director, I was not all that thrilled that he is from Michigan, I am from Ohio, I am willing to let it slide because we are incredibly, incredibly lucky to have him as a co-president of our Board. Jim, I would like to welcome you to the stage.



David, thank you for your leadership. David Kocan is the new Executive Director of the Canada-United States Law Institute and we appreciate your leadership and the staff's hard work. You all heard a fabulous speech last night from Ambassador Gary Doer, (10) Canada's Ambassador to the United States. Gary had to get to a meeting in New York, so I think he left at about six thirty this morning. We are joined this morning also by who was, as I mentioned to all of you last night at dinner, probably the most distinguished public servant and diplomat in the United States in the last couple of decades. Perhaps more, I do not know. All I know is we are looking forward to your speech at lunch time, and we are honored by your presence and thank you, thank you, thank you for being with us.

I am now going to introduce a dear friend of mine, David Jacobson. (11) He has been the most active United States Ambassador to Canada in recent memory. I said, recent memory. If you read his official biography, you see that he has a law degree from Georgetown, and a BA from John Hopkins. (12) Great credentials. You will see that he was a partner in commercial and corporate law in the law firm Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, (13) a very prominent firm as most of you know. He did found AtomWorks, (14) an organization to bring together corporate, civic, and academic leaders in order to foster nanotechnology in the Midwest. (15) A man ahead of his time, in that sense. And he also served as a member of CEOs for Cities, (16) which is a national bipartisan alliance of 75 mayors, corporate executives, university presidents and nonprofit leaders. (17) So that is kind of in the official biography, but the reality is most recently he was Special Assistant to the President for presidential personnel. (18) He was an original supporter of President Barack Obama. He is a key trusted advisor, so much so that President Obama relied on him to select who the Ambassadors would be going out around the world. (19)

David has traveled the country widely, more than any Ambassador in recent memory. He is deeply involved in all the energy issues, which are a centerpiece of our integrated economic relationship with Canada. He has been very much involved in the Beyond the Border discussions, which is the topic of this conference. He has been a tireless champion of yet to be built, but soon to be built, new bridge between Detroit and Windsor, (20) a public bridge we will get. He has been a staunch advocate for regulatory harmony for a level playing field with intellectual property. And as I said, under the United State system, an Ambassador not only represents the State Department, not only the Chief of Mission of the Embassy, which includes many, many departments not just State, but the Ambassador is the President's personal representative. So I want to give to you someone we are delighted to have with us, President Barack Obama's personal representative, David Jacobson.



Jim, thank you very much. It is great to be here in Cleveland. It is great to see so many people in the audience who are not only critical to the relationship between the United States and Canada, but so many really good friends, starting with Jim Blanchard. I said last year when I was here that Jim has been a dear friend and a great advisor to me in this process; (and) one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Ambassadors to Canada from the United States. But he told me before I came that I really ought to travel when I get to the country. You heard last night about his train trip across Canada, and he just did not give me the details of how big the country was. I got here on the first day and said I would go to all ten provinces in the first two months. I did not even know what that meant. But I said it on TV, so I had to do it. And I did follow in his footsteps, and in fact, on a train is where I met Ambassador Doer. (21) Ambassador Doer and I rode from Saskatoon to Winnipeg on a train, something I thought I would never be able to say I did. It was about eight hours, and our wives were with us, and there was nothing to do but eat and talk and get to know each other and that really was the beginning of a great relationship.

There are so many other people here, Jim Peterson, Ambassador Negroponte, (22) who also gave me among the best advice that I have gotten about how to be an Ambassador. As you heard, I am not a career diplomat, which by the end of my talk will be painfully obvious, but I was having lunch with Ambassador Negroponte, and we were talking about what it is like to be an Ambassador and his distinguished career, and I asked in the height of naivete, "So, like, when you have some difficult problem with your host government, what do you do?" He looked at me like I was nuts and he just said, "Diplomacy." And actually, that really is among the best pieces of advice and the importance of relationships and using those relationships to further the interests of our country. And it really has been great.

And Admiral Parks, (23) thank you for your service, and (with) the topic of this conference being the border and how we improve the border, you, (Admiral Parks), are one of the critical people, who every single day is responsible for that, and we really appreciate it. Roy Norton, (24) the Consul General of Canada in Detroit, who I have worked with on a large number of matters. And I would like to thank and welcome the students most of all. It is good to have you here.

What I want to talk about today is the latest step forward in the relationship between United States and Canada. We have shared a path for a very long time. We have walked together as friends in times of peace. We have been allies in times of war. Sometimes we compete with each other, certainly in commerce, and occasionally in things like hockey with varying results. But we have a very long history of coming together to trade goods, to solve problems, and defend freedom. And recently we have set our sights on a new destination. Last December, Prime Minister Harper and President Obama met in the Oval Office to sign the new Beyond the Border Agreement. (25) And at the same time, they agreed to form a new body to improve regulatory alignment between our two countries. (26) And the setting of the ceremony, the Oval Office, (which of those of you who have been in there, if your heart does not skip a beat walking into the Oval Office, there is something wrong with you). But being in there and the sense of history and the sense of progress helped to illuminate to me the long term importance of what the two leaders and our two countries were trying to achieve together there that day. We are taking a bold and important step forward. We are pursuing a shared vision to enhance the security and the economic competitiveness of our two countries. And today what I would like to do is to discuss these Agreements, what they mean, and the important advances that they are going to bring to the people of both countries. And I also want to talk head-on about some of the concerns that have been raised about those Agreements.

I want to begin with an overview of the two documents. First, the Beyond the Border Agreement: In the twenty-first century, we are confronted by the need to address risks and threats that can take shape very far away from our shores. At the same time, it is very important that we contribute to the future prosperity of our two countries by reducing the irritants to the critical trade relationship between the United States and Canada. And the Beyond the Board Agreement was conceived to promote and pursue both of those elements and to pursue both of them at the same time. Now, the title of this conference is, "The New...

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