Montana to host hybrid cross-border economic summit at Big Sky
After a year off due to COVID restrictions, Montana will once again host the annual Pacific Northwest Economic Region summit August 15-19 at Big Sky.
The KGVO spoke with the organization’s president, state lawmaker Mike Cuffe, who was delighted to present the summit which was canceled in 2020.
The Canada-U.S. Border has been opened for recreational travel within Canada, however, only essential travel is permitted from Canada to the United States.
“Last year we had a really big show planned at Big Sky,” Cuffe said. “We had to cancel this one because of COVID-19. This year we said we’re doing a combined hybrid, they call it, so part of it is virtual. We will have a number of people. I think we probably have 65 to 70 virtual people signed up right now. Our total check-in, I think, is around 275, with a lot more as we get there.
Cuffe detailed some of the presenters at the top.
“We have three former ambassadors, including Kelly Craft, who was the ambassador to Canada and helped bring the USMCA, the trilateral trade deal, to life,” he said. “And then President Donald Trump moved her from Canada to New York to be an ambassador to the United Nations when Nikki Haley moved on.”
Cuffe said there will be a real focus on wildfires in Canada and the western United States
“Can we have the number one firefighter Bill Avey, a man from Montana,” he said. “He’s a senior firefighting officer in the US Forest Service. He will be speaking to us with Jennifer Draughon, President of Neptune Aviation right here in Missoula. He is the Forest Service’s largest subcontractor, piloting nearly a dozen large slurry bombers.
Cuffe said the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline was devastating for Montana, but even more so for the province of Alberta, Canada.
“We’ve been working on this Keystone pipeline, and it’s like the border crossing problem,” he said. “It seems to make no sense to many of us, and there is absolutely no economic benefit whatsoever. This is really the goal of this group. Economically, it’s devastating for the province of Alberta, and it’s not good for the economies, even in Montana and North Dakota, but on a much smaller scale. Alberta is landlocked and has a lot of oil, but it cannot get it to market. The Keystone pipeline. It’s a terrible story.
Governor Greg Gianforte, Senator Jon Tester, Representative Matt Rosendale and many other political and business leaders will speak at the event.
(Senator Cuffe is the man on the far left of the photo)
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