For Immediate Release - March 8, 2000
Contact: Anastasia Burton
(Edmonton) --- Montana and Alberta will work together more closely under a new agreement signed today by Governor Marc Racicot and Premier Ralph Klein. The agreement formalizes cooperation between the two jurisdictions and commits them to regularly discuss issues for mutually positive outcomes.
The memorandum of understanding puts in place a set of principles that will allow Alberta and Montana to continue working together in key areas such as agriculture, transportation, tourism, trade, education, and the environment. The Montana-Alberta Bilateral Advisory Council (MABAC), created in 1985, will act as a forum for co-operation in these areas and for discussing potential issues of dispute.
"Montana and Alberta share not only a common border, but a unique western heritage," said Governor Racicot. "By bringing together public and private leaders, the Montana-Alberta Bilateral Advisory Council has been able to arrive at co-operative solutions that directly benefit trade and social relations. It is our belief, that by formalizing the work of the Council in a memorandum of understanding, we will set forth the commitment to continuing co-operation on finding grassroots solutions to international issues."
"This is an important step forward for Alberta and Montana," said Premier Klein. "We're building on the valuable relationship we already have with Montana and ensuring that partnership continues for years to come."
By holding informal discussions in areas of dispute, the two jurisdictions can resolve or avoid issues before resorting to more formal appeal mechanisms provided through the North America Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization, or the courts.
"It makes sense for us to talk about issues early on, before they escalate," Klein explained. "It's more efficient, less costly, and better for cross-border relations."
Alberta has worked closely with Montana on a number of projects, including a combined travel guide, the first joint vehicle inspection station on the Canada-U.S. border, an agricultural conference held last year with over 200 producers from Montana and Alberta, and joint work on regional transportation issues.
The new agreement comes into effect immediately upon signing and will be reviewed annually.
For more information, contact:
Office of the Governor
State of Montana
Office of the Premier
Province of Alberta
Alberta International and Intergovernmental Relations