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Atlantic Mayors' and Economic Leaders Chart Collaborative Course
(Halifax, NS, Friday, April 19, 2002)--Mayors from 17 communities throughout Atlantic Canada have successfully concluded their second Atlantic Mayors' Congress. Mayor Peter Kelly of Halifax Regional Municipality hosted two days of talks which featured Finance Minister Paul Martin, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Robert Thibault, and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Minister Gerry Byrne as keynote speakers.
In a parallel session, the Greater Halifax Partnership led discussions by senior economic development leaders from each of the municipalities represented at the Mayors' Congress.
Their agenda included identifying the strengths and challenges of the region's economy and opportunities for collaboration. The group presented its findings to the mayors at the conclusion of their talks.
Discussions held during the Mayors' Congress focussed on issues such as Sunday shopping, anti-dumping of steel legislation, northern transportation and establishing Remembrance Day as a national statutory holiday.
The mayors endorsed the recommendations from the Economic Forum to create a secretariat that will design a shared regional economic development vision; create a common brand to market the region; and develop a cluster strategy that will build on the region's core competencies.
Mayor Peter Kelly commended participants of the Mayors' Congress and Economic Forum for their leadership and vision in charting a new course for the economic prosperity of Atlantic Canada. He said, "We've made significant inroads in this, our second meeting. We are well on the way to achieving our objectives of speaking as one united voice, promoting our common strengths and opportunities to advance regional growth."
Stephen Dempsey, President and CEO of the Greater Halifax Partnership, described the outcomes of the Economic Forum as "historic" in the economic development of the region. "This is the beginning of a new municipal growth agenda for communities in the Atlantic Provinces," he said.Finance Minister Paul Martin participated in a round table discussion and fielded questions from the mayors. Minister Martin, accompanied by Mayor Peter Kelly, Minister Robert Thibault, and Geoff Regan, MP for Halifax West, also announced that the G-7 Finance Ministers' Meetings will be held in Halifax on June 14 -15, 2002.
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Robert Thibault spoke confidently of the federal government's support for harbour cleanup in Atlantic Canadian cities.
Addressing the mayors and economic development leaders, ACOA Minister Gerry Byrne spoke of the uniqueness of Atlantic Canada, the resourcefulness of its people and the opportunities available in the Atlantic region.
Mayor Peter Kelly, Chairman of the Mayors' Congress, said, "I'm very pleased with the positive response and support received from everyone in attendance over the past two days. We're looking forward to our next meeting in November in Saint John, New Brunswick. The economic development leaders will present a progress report to us at that time."
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Mayor Peter Kelly
Halifax Regional Municipality
Greater Halifax Partnership