Follow up on their meeting and signing of a memorandum of understanding on education and energy cooperation last week, Maine Governor John Baldacci said he had spoken more times in the past four months to Premier Shawn Graham than to any premier in his four years in office. Cooperation between Maine and New Brunswick is certainly a good thing that I encourage, I think that on energy and education there is lots of room, but also in terms of tourism, transportation, economic development and natural resources.
Northern Maine has a very depressed economy while central-western New Brunswick has been booming and at times has had employment shortages. Lots of people from this region, especially nurses, cross the border to work in the USA. However few Americans cross the border to work in Canada, that is a perfect example of economic cooperation.
However, I am not sure how I feel about the Maine Governor being given the change to address the New Brunswick legislature. I am not sure how long it has been since an outsider was allowed the privilege, the last case I know of was Winston Churchill in the 1950s. I am going to see if I can find out more details.
While it is very good that Shawn Graham is being much more driven in building relationships with our neighbours than his predeccesor, I cannot imagine the Maine legislature granting him a similar privilege and I do not like the optics of us rolling out the red carpet to our American neighbours for fear that they will appear to be our masters.
The address will be shortly after the legislature begins its sitting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.