AUGUSTA, Maine - Governor LePage has issued the following statement regarding Maine’s need to “Look North” for economic growth and cultural opportunity to a far greater extent than Maine has historically.
“To prepare options for the remainder of my term and for Maine’s next governor, I am directing agencies of state government to look anew at mutual economic and cultural opportunities for Maine with Canada in general and with the contiguous provinces of Canada more specifically,” stated Governor LePage. “While we value business and cultural ties with Canada, the sizes of market and population centers directly affect behavior and strategies. Our Canadian friends behave similarly, but changes in law, trade agreements and technology have opened opportunities, not all of which may yet be fully utilized. It is timely, fitting and proper that we should reassess the opportunities available to us.”
This request begins a process of concept identification and development that will conclude in the fall of 2018. Concepts may include not only governmental actions, but institutional and private sector opportunities.
Maine is bounded by one state and two Canadian provinces: the State of New Hampshire, the Province of Quebec, the Province of New Brunswick and—by water—the Provence of Nova Scotia. But for reasons of nationalism and custom, LePage says our focus naturally is primarily domestic and to the south.
“Early in my business career, I worked in the forest products industry in New Brunswick. That experience taught me that the citizens of Canada are good, hard-working people who are similar to the vast majority of Mainers. They, like us, face challenges in distance to markets, capital formation and retention of youth. More unites us than separates us, and we should make every effort to together achieve our common goals,” added Governor LePage. “It’s time to capitalize on these economic and cultural opportunities with our closest friends and neighbors.”
The Governor has directed state agencies and has requested that designated Maine institutions each prepare a report in summary form, not longer than five pages, describing potential economic and cultural opportunities in which Maine agencies, institutions and/or businesses might engage with Canada and, particularly, the provinces contiguous to the State, to greater benefit Maine’s people and economy.
This call is for concepts of opportunity, not final plans. Upon review of the “Look North” papers, the Administration will seek additional detail on promising ideas, and will schedule the selection of potential actions in the fall of 2018.
These reports are to be submitted to the Office of the Governor by June 30, 2018.