The rumors were correct. The Canadian government has decided to close its consulate in Raleigh in the next couple of months. Some other Canadian trade offices will close as well.
Leoneda Inge: The rumor mill reported that the Canadian Office of Foreign Affairs was looking to close eight offices across the United States. When the final budget was approved, four offices were left on the chopping block, including the Raleigh office. Offices in Anchorage, Phenoix and Philadelphia will also close. And so will a small satellite office in Princeton, New Jersey. Chris Pluckett is a spokesman for the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. He says it was time to re-balance their mission and their network, even though the US is Canada’s largest trading partner.
Chris Pluckett: We’ve decided that we’ll move to something of a leaner network composed of regional clusters that will allow us to specialize expertise of our trade councils better.
Pluckett says services in Raleigh will be covered by their offices in Atlanta and Miami.
Chris Pluckett: We plan to keep up the same level of service for the business community there.
Kevin Burke says he hopes so. Burke was born and raised in Montreal and moved to Raleigh a decade ago to work for Nortel a sponsoring company that helped set up Raleigh’s Canadian office.
Kevin Burke: We haven’t given up, we’re continuing to kind of raise it. Our expectations are with the people listening, the good people listening maybe something would happen, but we are concerned.
Burke sits on the board of directors of the Canadian Business Association of North Carolina. They sent a letter to government ministers to try and save the Raleigh office. Canada is North Carolina’s top trading partner. Exports to Canada increased 15-percent last year, topping 6-point-three billion dollars.