MANITOBA STRENGTHENS ECONOMIC, CULTURAL TIES WITH LOWER NORMANDY, FRANCE
Premier Greg Selinger and Vice-President Annie Anne of Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie), France, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen economic, cultural and historical ties between their respective governments and institutions. Lower Normandy is a region in northwestern France.
“Lower Normandy and Manitoba share many common cultural values and economic priorities,” said Selinger. “I look forward to building on our historical friendship as we work to realize new opportunities that will benefit both of our regions.”
The MOU will help develop trade and economic partnerships, and scientific innovation between Manitoba and Lower Normandy in areas such as eco-materials and composites manufacturing, functional food development, the transportation sector, and in information and communications technologies. The agreement also supports the development of linkages between the Port of Churchill and the Ports of Normandy Authority. Co-operation will also be pursued in the areas of higher education and training, in particular, by the Université de Saint-Boniface and between cultural institutions.
“This partnership with Manitoba is important to Basse-Normandie because we share many common opportunities in the areas such as agriculture, aerospace and promotion of human rights,” said Anne. “Canada and Manitoba will also be forever linked to Basse-Normandie by the sacrifices made by Canadians in June of 1944. We will never forget.”
Co-operation under the MOU also includes an ongoing memorial component to commemorate the 1944 D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy, where the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, the Fort Garry Horse and the 402 (City of Winnipeg) Fighter Squadron played critical roles. Selinger today provided his endorsement of Lower Normandy’s bid to recognize the beaches of Normandy as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“This agreement recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of many Manitoba veterans on the beaches of Normandy and in the broader campaign for the liberation of Europe,” said Selinger. “It is on this shared historical foundation that we are building an ongoing commitment to freedom and human rights, and I fully support Lower Normandy’s efforts to have the Normandy landing beaches inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.”
Following the MOU signing, Selinger, Anne and the ambassador of France to Canada Philippe Zeller honoured veterans living in Manitoba who were part of the 1944 D-Day campaign. Vice-President Anne presented the veterans with medallions thanking them for their service on behalf of her government.
“I’m proud to be here today honouring the Manitoba veterans who risked their lives to liberate Europe,” said Anne. “I’m also pleased to extend an invitation to Premier Selinger to attend the 70th anniversary of D-Day commemoration ceremony in Normandie in 2014.”
The governments of Manitoba and Lower Normandy are also particularly interested in collaboration in human rights issues, said the premier and vice-president. To this end, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the International Institute of Human Rights and Peace in Caen, Lower Normandy, will collaborate under terms of the MOU.
In addition to signing the memorandum, the government delegation and members of the Lower Normandy business community will also participate in the Centrallia business forum, taking place at the Winnipeg Convention Centre from today until Friday.
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The provincial government is distributing this news release on behalf of Lower Normandy and Manitoba.