Friday, Dec. 2, we were honored to welcome members of The Pennsylvania Society to our offices – a first!
More than 150 notable individuals from across business, civil society and government including Representative Joanna McClinton (D) were on-hand to celebrate Canada’s strong, reliable and productive partnership with the Keystone State.
Left to right: PA Rep. Napoleon Nelson, PA Rep. Gina Curry, Acting Consul General André Frenette, Marcia Perry Dix, David Dix, PA Rep. Greg Scott
In his opening remarks, Acting Consul General André Frenette praised the strong commercial ties between Canada and Pennsylvania, which he said are often overlooked: “Most people are surprised to learn that Canada is Pennsylvania’s number-one trading partner. But our relationship is remarkably strong, reliable and productive.”
Despite the pandemic, trade between Pennsylvania and Canada grew to $25 billion in 2021.
Frenette attributed the strong relationship on Canada and Pennsylvania’s shared border and to the willingness of generations business and political leaders to nurture one of the world’s greatest bilateral relationships.
“We often find that our greatest advocates are in places like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, and Harrisburg – people who understand that all politics is local, and that cross-border friendships and global events can impact their cities, counties and neighborhoods,” he said.
Most people are surprised to learn that Canada is Pennsylvania’s number-one trading partner. But our relationship is remarkably strong, reliable and productive. ~ Acting Consul General André Frenette
Pennsylvania pragmatism crosses ideological divides
Frenette also praised what he characterized as Pennsylvania’s “particular brand of pragmatism” that encourages people to work together despite regional or ideological differences.
“Few institutions encapsulate this spirit as much as its chambers of commerce, who we think of now as natural allies,” he said.
“We often find that our greatest advocates are in places like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, and Harrisburg. ~ Acting Consul General André Frenette
Promoting economic growth and equity together
Frenette then thanked the Pennsylvania Chamber of Black-Owned Businesses for co-hosting the event. “Canada shares the belief that economic growth must go hand-in-hand with equity, and we are committed to working toward that goal,” he said.
An annual gala
The Pennsylvania Society was founded in 1899 by Pennsylvania historian James Barr Ferree while he was living in New York. That year, he invited 55 fellow Pennsylvanians to join him for dinner at the legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel to “unite Pennsylvanians at home and away from home in bonds of friendship and devotion to their native or adopted state.”
For over 120 years, its annual dinner has convened influential political and business leaders and honored achievements and contribution to Pennsylvania, regardless of party affiliation or industry.