FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswick will host the 43rd meeting of the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers in Saint John, Sept. 8-10.

“We are excited to welcome the premiers and governors back to New Brunswick,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “These meetings are important for developing strong relationships within our region that will help generate positive, long-term economic benefits.”

Topics of discussion at the conference will include energy grid modernization, cybersecurity, climate change adaptation and disaster mitigation, as well as key trade issues. More than 300 delegates are expected to attend including government officials, experts, researchers and representatives from companies, organizations, and associations.

The conference was established in 1973 in recognition of the special bond that exists between the six New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont and the five Eastern Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.

It meets annually, alternating from a Canadian to an American host. New Brunswick last hosted the annual summer meeting in 2009 in Saint John.

The conference has served as a forum for discussion and debate on issues of regional importance and provides a mechanism for work in the areas of the environment, energy, agriculture, fisheries, trade and economic development.

“New Brunswick places tremendous value on relations between Canada and the United States, and on our ability to work together to address issues that impact people living on both sides of the border,” said Higgs. “I am confident this conference will help to strengthen this relationship through exploring areas of common interest and developing new opportunities for co-operation within our region.”

Through the support of the federal government and various other organizations and private sector sponsors, Opportunities NB will co-ordinate a concurrent business-to-business program, which will facilitate meetings among the business delegates. Businesses will have an opportunity to discuss potential partnerships for trade, investment, research and other collaborations.

“We are pleased we are able to host the business-to-business program,” said Economic Development and Small Business Minister Mary Wilson, who is also minister responsible for Opportunities NB. “It offers a unique opportunity for businesses from New England and eastern Canada to network and collaborate while attending the conference that brings together governors, premiers, American and Canadian dignitaries, government staff, and business and academic leaders.”

Premiers and governors have met in New Brunswick on three other occasions; in 1998, 1985 and 1975.