May 09, 2006

Crapo: Inter-Parliamentary Group SetsNew Priorities

Senator is chairman of U.S. â??Canada working group discussions

Washington, DC â?? A working group made up of U.S. Members of Congress and Canadian Members of Parliament has reached an agreement on new priorities for the coming year. The Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group held its 47th Annual Meeting this past weekend in Charleston, South Carolina. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is the U.S. Chairman of the group, which met two years ago in Coeur dâ??Alene.Crapo said discussions with his Canadian counterparts were productive, leading to agreement on new areas the group will prioritize discussing in the coming year. Those areas of mutual interest include border security, North American energy independence, expanding free and fair trade, prescription drug research and pricing, high-technology, and how to respond to a potential avian influenza (Bird flu) outbreak.â??These annual talks are generally low-key, but we are finding many areas of agreement and mutual understanding on issues critical to both of our countries,â?? Crapo said. â??The recent announcement that we have reached agreement about how to proceed with the softwood lumber issue is a direct result of IPGâ??s call last year for both parties to reengage in substantive talks. Improving the security of our common border and energy research and production will also be important topics as we move forward this year.â??Working together on illegal drug trade and use will also be a priority, Crapo said. â??Group members agreed we should commence a new report on the impact that the use of methamphetamine is having in both of our nations,â?? Crapo added. â??We can work together to research enforcement and treatment programs. Our two nations share many common goals and by working together we will hopefully find twice the solutions to our mutual concerns.â??Joining Crapo as U.S. Senate leaders of the Inter-Parliamentary Group are Vice Chairman Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Senators George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).# # #