A look back at Canada Connects: Quebec

Over a span of three days (May 15-17) a delegation of 40 Alberta business leaders engaged with hundreds of Quebec business and political leaders in order to promote Alberta as an investment destination and highlight the importance of Quebec-Alberta trade relations.

The Canada Connects: Quebec Mission was the latest in the Canada Connects events series which has brought business leaders to the Canadian oil sands, Ottawa, Washington, D.C., and Geneva, Switzerland.

The Quebec mission brought Alberta delegates together with dozens of senior Quebec media, political, business leaders. For Albertans, the events served as a “crash course” on Quebec politics, media and economics. Quebec participants networked with Alberta business leaders, heard testimonials from Quebec companies already investing in Alberta and learned about the latest economic trends.

Alberta Enterprise Group (AEG) leveraged partnerships with the Montreal Board of Trade, Quebec International, Newad, La Caisse de Depot and McCarthy Tétrault to coordinate the events and market them to Quebec participants. The following is a brief overview of the event, including some of the key people and organizations the delegations met with while in Quebec.


MAY 15 (MONTREAL)aeg_news_can-connects-q5

Morning session: Quebec 101 Briefing

  • Economic overview from National Bank Vice President and Chief Economist Stéfane Marion.
  • In depth political analysis from Andre Pratte, Editor in Chief, La Presse.
  • Presentation from Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand.
  • Joint investment opportunities presentation from Investissement Quebec Senior Vice-President Luc Seguin.

Afternoon: Alberta delegates participated in VIP tours of the Hydro Quebec Beauharnois facility and the Port of Montreal. AEG delegates then joined 100 Quebec entrepreneurs and participated in an Innovation Summit that brought together representatives from the Alberta technology community with their Quebec counterparts at the Caisse de Depot. Participants were welcomed by Caisse de Depot Vice President Denis Couture.

VIP Dinner: Hosted by McCarthy Tétrault, delegates mingled with senior business leaders at Scena, an upscale restaurant at the Old Port of Montreal. The guest speaker for the event was former Quebec Premier Daniel Johnson. Delegates had the opportuntiy to nework with a diverse range of senior Quebec business leaders.

Pictured: Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand provides Alberta delegates with an overview of Quebec finances. 


MAY 16 (MONTREAL)aeg_news_can-connects-q4

Morning session: “Doing business with Alberta Companies”

  • In conjunction with the Montreal Board of Trade, Alberta delegates and Quebec participants took part.
  • Calgary and Edmonton Economic Development Authorities gave broad economic overviews.
  • Alberta companies PCL, North American Energy Partners and Questerre gave presentations.
  • Quebec presenters representing companies doing work with Alberta: Groupe CANAM, EzeFlow, Gradek Energy.

Keynote Luncheon with Canadian Oil Sands President and CEO/Syncrude Chairman Marcel Coutu. Mr. Coutu was introduced by Power Corporation’s Jeffrey Orr.

Pictured: National Bank Chief Economist Stefane Marion debunked Thomas Mulcair’s “Dutch disease” thesis, and provided detailed economic projections.


MAY 17 (QUEBEC CITY)aeg_news_can-connects-q3

Morning Session: “Doing business in Alberta and Quebec”

  • Quebec economic overview presented by Quebec International President Carl Viel.
  • Calgary and Edmonton Economic Development Authorities gave broad economic overviews.
  • Alberta companies PCL, North American Energy Partners gave presentations.
  • Presenting Quebec companies: Prevost, Gaz Metro, CGI.

Delegates participated in a networking luncheon, then Plan Nord Briefing at National Optics Institute. Plan Nord Briefing was delivered by the Government of Quebec and engineering firm Genivar. The Mission came to formal end with a closing reception and dinner at the Quebec Garrison Club with greetings from Quebec Economic Development Minister Sam Hamad.


MEDIA COVERAGEaeg_news_can-connects-q2

Alberta Enterprise Group coordinated an advance media availability with key outlets the week before the mission was to take place. This initiative resulted in coverage in La Presse (Quebec’s most-read newspaper) the Gazette and Les Affaires, a francophone business publication.

In Alberta the event was covered by the Calgary Herald and previously received two mentions in the Edmonton Journal. The Mission itself received excellent local media coverage, much of which was generated by Marcel Coutu’s keynote address and a Canada News Wire b-roll package developed by AEG.

Print coverage appeared in the Calgary Herald, the Gazette and La Presse and Le Devoir. Quebec City’s le Soleil also covered the third day of the mission.

Broadcast media included extensive coverage from highly rated TVA in Montreal and Global and CTV in Alberta as well as 630 CHED/iNews 880 radio. French CBC television sent a crew to follow the Alberta delegates as they toured Quebec Hydro and the Port of Montreal. Delegation spokespersons gave interviews to CBC radio, including a live province-wide interview on CBC and a Sun TV appearance on Ezra Levant’s “The Source.”

Pictured: Alberta and Quebec City business leaders mingled during a “speed dating” session organized by co-organizers Quebec International.


GOING FORWARDaeg_news_can-connects-q1

Resulting from the mission, AEG will be following up on a number of fronts, including:

  • Formalizing an Alberta-Quebec Business Partnership that would be driven by business leaders in both provinces with a mandate to expand the Quebec-Alberta trade relationship.
  • Organizing a return mission of Quebec business leaders to Alberta to visit oil sands, experience Alberta culture and meet with Alberta political leaders.
  • Working towards a formal Alberta-Quebec trade agreement that would reduce barriers to the exchange of goods and services between the two provinces.

Pictured: More than 100 Quebec technology professionals joined Alberta delegates for an Innovation Summit in Montreal. Guest panelists from Alberta were TEC Edmonton’s Chris Lumb and Tecterra’s Andrew Exner.



While there is much focus on the differences between Alberta and Quebec, the Alberta Enterprise Group has identified tremendous support for increased trade and cooperation between the two provinces. The Alberta business community, in conjunction with Government of Alberta must continue to foster closer ties and highlight existing success stories.