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Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in Quebec City, Canada, Announcing the Appointment of Special Envoys on Acid Rain

March 17, 1985

The Prime Minister. [In English] The President and I have had what I believe to be a very important discussion on the problem of acid rain. We have made a significant step forward, in that a matter that has been on the back burner really for the last 3 years has now been brought up forward, and I think on both sides we acknowledge that our problem is common in nature and requires a joint solution.

So, the President and I will be talking about this again tomorrow and in the future. But I think that we have managed to break a deadlock, which has prevented some common action on this.

From the Canadian point of view, as you know, I've taken the position that it's important that we clean up our own act, and Canada has begun that process with a comprehensive national program. And so there will be a document released—I suppose within the next half-hour or so.

But to ensure that this matter—this matter that the President and I both agree is of such great importance to our respective countries—to ensure that this never finds its way again onto the back burner, we have agreed today to the appointment of two special envoys of great excellence and influence and uncommon access to us as leaders. They will carry the matters forward and I think help us achieve real results. They'll report to us on a regular basis. And I appreciate the President's commitment, as demonstrated by the caliber of his appointment, which he will announce momentarily.

For our part, the Government of Canada is particularly pleased to announce the appointment of the Honorable William G. Davis, former Prime Minister of Ontario, as our special Ambassador in this vital area.

[In French] I think that we've taken a very important step today—a very important step forward in this whole matter of acid rain. The process has thus begun, and we're going to look after our side of the problem as well, and I think that we're going to reach a common solution. Both sides have recognized the fact that there is a common origin to this problem—that one cannot act unilaterally, that the very fate of both our countries are very closely tied, the one to the other.

So, therefore, the Canadian Government has already started its own national program in this respect. And it is with a great deal of delight that, in order that we ensure that this very vital question is no longer to be the poor one of the pack, both of us have designated personal Ambassadors, people of exceptional quality, to ensure that the matters be brought back to us at an opportune moment and on a regular basis. Therefore, I take great pleasure in confirming to the President of the United States the appointment of the Honorable William G. Davis, a former Premier of the Province of Ontario, as our Ambassador.

I thank you, Mr. President. And now would you say a few words?

The President. Well, I'll only take a second here simply to endorse what the Prime Minister has told you. We're very pleased with the outcome of the discussion. We touched upon a number of things of interest, and we'll be dealing with those in the meetings to come tomorrow. But of particular concern to us was this issue of acid rain. And I'm very pleased with the envoys that have been chosen. The Prime Minister has named a man that—I'm sure you all know his access to him—and has a standing that will make him capable of carrying out what has to be a joint undertaking as the Prime Minister has said. And for our own part, my nominee—and he has accepted—is Drew Lewis, the former Secretary of Transportation, who has agreed to take on this task.

And, so, together we'll find an answer to this problem. And I couldn't be happier about getting this underway and off dead center.

Q. What are they supposed to do?

The President. We've agreed there'll be no questions, so I can't take it, your question there. But we shall go forward with finding an answer to what is a problem that belongs to both of us.

I think that it's very significant that our two countries should work together on all matters of environment, because entrusted to us is the care of a very unique continent and a very beautiful continent. And I think all of us share the desire to protect this for generations of Canadians and Americans yet to come.

Thank you.

Note: The Prime Minister spoke at 4:47 p.m. in Le Frontenac Room at the Chateau Frontenac Hotel, following a private meeting with the President. In the evening, the President and Mrs. Reagan attended a private dinner hosted by the Prime Minister and Mrs. Mulroney at the hotel. Later they attended a gala performance at the Grand Theatre of Quebec.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in Quebec City, Canada, Announcing the Appointment of Special Envoys on Acid Rain Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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