Canada’s ambassador to Mexico, Pierre Alarie, visited Merida for the inauguration of FICMaya…
MERIDA — In an interview with the local newspaper La Jornada Maya, the diplomat estimated that since the elimination of the visa to Canada, the entry of Mexicans to his country has grown by 60%, but he commented that more promotion is needed for Canadians to come to Yucatan.
He noted that Canada’s trade relationship with Mexico will continue, with or without the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Originally from the French-speaking province of Quebec, Alarie has been his country’s ambassador to Mexico since 2015. He noted that despite the great relationship between the two countries, Yucatan remains an unknown destination for the majority of Canadians: “There are 3 or 4 thousand people a year that come to spend the winter (we call the snowbirds); that’s a very low amount of immigrants, especially when you consider that there are about 2.2 million Canadians who visit Mexico every year.” Most of them vacation in Quintana Roo, Jalisco and part of Guerrero and Oaxaca.
The ambassador believes that although popularity is growing in Canada, it is very important for Yucatan to continue to promote itself among Canadians.
Addressed on the subject of NAFTA (he had just returned from Washington), the ambassador noted that it is a sensitive and troubling issue for the three countries and expressed his concern and discomfort with the modifications requested by U.S. President Donald Trump, such as the renegotiation each five years and the origin restrictions to the automotive industry.
Also Alarie explained that Michael Bailey, an embassy counselor, also present in the interview, is working to improve and accelerate academic exchange agreements between universities. “This is a negotiation that has to be done, province by province, because in Canada there is no a federal ministry of education”. He believes that not enough has been done, but Canada will be working to improve it in the coming years.
Finally, he expressed his fascination with the FICMaya program: “I’m impressed by the length of the festival; I was told that 800 thousand people will attend. I am very happy with Canada being the invited country. It marks a step to improve the relationship between Canada and Yucatan.”
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