Senator Jack Yost (D-Brooke) was nominated by the Government of Canada to participate in its 2014 Rising State Leaders Tour of Western Canada program last month.
Launched in 2006, the program has provided outstanding state leaders an opportunity to participate in a working tour of Canada, which includes meetings with key government officials and trading partners in Canada.
Applications are not accepted for the exclusive program; up to 12 candidates from across the U.S. are nominated annually by the Canadian Embassy and Canadian Consulates General.
“I was extremely honored and humbled to have been selected for this prestigious program and visit our partners in Canada, see the oil fields, meet with my contemporaries in Canada and discuss the issues facing both nations and West Virginia,” said Senator Yost, “This was a once in a lifetime trip and I will take with me the lessons I learned and utilize them in the upcoming session”
In coordination with provincial partners, the program is built to foster relationships with U.S. leaders at the state level while providing selected candidates with a deeper understanding of the U.S.-Canada relationship.
The trip included stops in Vancouver, British Colombia; Whitehorse, Yukon; Edmonton, Alberta; and Fort McMurray, Alberta. The program included discussion and visitation which covered a wide range of issues affecting both the United States and Canada including border security and defense, energy and environment, and trade and investment.
“Canada is a very important trading partner for the West Virginia economy so it was great to be able to visit and touch base personally with the officials there,” said Yost. “I look forward to future discussion and strengthening our bond in the energy sector.”
West Virginia sells more goods to Canada than to the state's next three largest foreign markets combined. There are around 31,000 jobs in West Virginia that depend on trade with Canada and another 4,000 people employed by Canadian-owned businesses.