Next year, Nadia Theodore, Canada‘s consul general based in Atlanta, is planning to put aside her professional preoccupation with trade policies and focus on allying the Southeast U.S. with her country’s commitment to climate change and anti-human trafficking policies.
During an interview with Global Atlanta at the consulate general located in Midtown‘s Colony Square, Mrs. Theodore said that she considers Atlanta her second home superseded only by her native Ottawa, Canada, and plans to focus her support on the city’s clean energy program and Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport‘s anti-human trafficking initiative.
Atlanta is among more than 70 cities that have adopted goals to implement renewable electricity goals and is the largest in the Southeast to make the commitment.
By placing these goals at the top of her 2019 agenda, Mrs. Theodore is choosing two out of a wide range of Canada’s national policies on which to focus her attention in 2019.
Canada has been a leading proponent of the long-term goals established under the Paris Agreement on climate change and has pledged to work with all countries “to effectively implement the agreement.” Undeterred by the Trump administration’s refusal to support the agreement, she said that she has found local initiatives throughout the Southeast desirous of adopting clean energy initiatives, which she aims to encourage.
And, although only in her post for slightly over a year, she already has made an effort to get to know relevant state officials, singling out Public Service Commissioner Tim G. Echols as particularly helpful in exposing her to Georgia‘s energy challenges.
She also cited the United States’ Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police‘s memorandum of understanding on the dissemination and exchange of information. The six-page document was signed in March 2012 and outlines common objectives in combatting human trafficking.
Atlanta is often cited as a magnet for human traffickers because of the frequency of large events held here, the presence of the world’s busiest airport and the four major highways that run through the city.
Mrs. Theodore looks forward to participating in a conference on human trafficking at the airport next year in what is expected to be an especially important moment for the city because of the influx of visitors on Sunday, Feb. 3, due to the Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz stadium downtown.
Although at year-end she is beginning to prioritize her schedule, she won’t be abandoning traditional consular responsibilities for strengthening and deepening the Canada-U.S. relationship across six states of the Southeast – Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
After all, she has held executive leadership positions in several of Canada’s trade negotiations and served as served at Canada’s Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization and at Canada’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland.
She will be supporting the upcoming Southeast U.S. Canada Provinces Alliance to be held in Montreal June 2-4 where the relationship between the Southeast and Canada’s Eastern Provinces was launched in 2007.
Every year since then the event has brought officials from Canada’s Eastern Provinces and the Southeast states together, alternating between cities of each country, and featuring companies interested in expanding their markets.
Donald Leblanc, the lead delegate of the Quebec trade office in Atlanta, announced the Montreal venue for the annual event while attending the Christmas party on Dec. 6 at the consulate general.
The SEUS-CP event encourages small-to-medium sized companies seeking to expand their markets on either side of the border to attend and to further strengthen the strong trade and investment relations that bind the U.S. and Canada.
Despite her avowed commitment to her additional priorities for 2019, Mrs. Theodore’s trade background won’t be far in the back of her mind as she follows the hoped for implementation of the updated NAFTA agreement, now known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which she supports.
“I’m happy with 2.0 modernization,” she said. “It provides an opportunity for us to move the relationship into the 21st century.”
She also said that she favors the updated agreement because it “gives a nod” to the role of small- and medium-sized enterprises play in driving economic growth in states and cities.”
“Our job one is to help companies invest and grow,” she added, saying that the updated agreement is responsible for providing “stability and predictability” for companies that wish to cross borders, which have been threatened by a climate of hostile trade negotiations.
As for her Christmas plans, she is to remain in Atlanta with her husband and daughter to celebrate her hopes for the coming year.