General Delegate of Québec to JapanLuci Tremblay on the potential of a province
A Québec girl through and through, the new General Delegate of Québec to Japan Luci Tremblay wants to show Japan what both her province and its namesake capital city have to offer, as well as how the relationship with Japan might be strengthened. The Canadian spoke to her about her plans as she steps into her new role — which she took on in September 2017 — and her journey into diplomacy.
I was a TV reporter for CBC News for 15 years in Montréal, Toronto and Québec. In 2000, I decided it was time for a change.
I went to work for the then-mayor of Québec City, Jean Paul L’Allier (1938–2016), who had been minister of communications and cultural affairs in the 1970s. He was the first person to teach me about international relations.
It was a busy period from 2000 to 2005, with the amalgamation of the 13 cities, an election plus the third Summit of the Americas. Québec has sister city cooperation agreements, is part of the francophone network, and is involved with the Québec City-headquartered UNESCO world heritage cities, of which Québec is one.
In August 2005, I went to work with Québec International, the economic development agency for the region of Québec. It was all about communication, and selling my city and region to potential global partners in order to attract investors and talent to Québec City.
I then worked at the House of Music for a short period, before being asked to be part of the team marking the 400th anniversary of Québec city in 2008. This was the best and most challenging experience of my professional life. Following that, I moved to Festival d’été de Québec, which is one of the 10 biggest music festivals in the world. I was involved with that for nine years before taking up my present position.
Over the years, each time I had the chance to meet somebody from the International Relations Ministry of the Government of Québec, I would ask if they needed someone, somewhere in the world. They eventually offered me Tokyo.
One of the main features is agricultural product exports, including pork, soy beans, maple syrup, cranberries and blueberries. Food represents 40 percent of our exports to Japan. Producers in Québec are developing special high-quality products especially for Japan, such as Nagano pork.
We have a European culture, but a North American way of doing things. The result is creativity and innovation, which attract Japanese investments and help us conclude partnerships with Japanese companies.
We need a stronger economic focus in our bilateral relationship. We have so many projects on the table and there are many fields that we can develop with Japan.
There is so much going on in AI, entertainment and video games and, of course, in the area of culture. I’ve always said that the manifestation of culture is like opening the door to a relationship.
In 2016 the province of Québec and Kyoto Prefecture signed a friendship and cooperation agreement. The first event, a manga exhibition, is taking place right now and runs until February 13. Both organizing parties want to develop an economic relationship, so we are working on it.
I believe Japan is beginning to know more about Québec, its strengths and its specialties.
Montréal is certainly becoming a global hub for AI. There are famous researchers, centers of research, new companies, start-ups and most of the universities are also involved.
Japan has an aging society that will need robots or other types of help in the future. In addition, Japan has a lot of very large companies with a lot of data that needs to be analyzed and understood. There are companies in Montréal that can certainly help with this.
Video games represent another opportunity; we can bring innovation, creativity and emotion to the sector.