Wonderful Waterloo Archive

This site is maintained by Sam Nabi as a record of the vibrant Wonderful Waterloo community, which was taken offline in 2014. This site is a partial archive, containing some posts from 2009-2013. To read more about the recovery effort and access the data in a machine-readable format, check out the GitHub page.

US Ambassador Visits Waterloo

Post #4671
04-14-2010 02:24 AM

Town Member
Date Jan 2010 Location Waterloo, Ontario Posts 237 Urban Reward Points 518
Ambassador visits a region ‘on the radar’

April 14, 2010
By Greg Mercer, Record staff

WATERLOO REGION — U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson paid his first visit to Waterloo Region — a place known around the world for innovation, he said — with radar, BlackBerrys and theoretical physics on his mind.

Before returning to Ottawa late yesterday afternoon, the former Chicago lawyer and President Obama fundraiser made three official visits here: at Research In Motion, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and Waterloo radar systems maker Raytheon Canada. The places he chose may say a lot about how this region is viewed as a centre for technology and research by his administration in Washington.

“I’ve known about Waterloo for quite some time, particularly about the innovation that goes on here between the business community, tech community and the universities,” Jacobson said, during an interview at the Record. “Waterloo is on the radar of every business person in the world.”

He described himself as “one of BlackBerry’s best customers” — and one of its first — and said the chance to meet with co-CEO Jim Balsillie at RIM’s world headquarters was a thrill. His boss, Barack Obama, is a well-known user of RIM’s smart phones.

“It’s kind of like going to the Holy Grail for me and my boss, the president,” Jacobson said.

He described his visit as a learning trip, part of his broader plan to get to know Canada better since becoming ambassador last October.

Yesterday afternoon, he was given a crash course in string theory and other out-there ideas in the world of physics from the Perimeter Institute. The ambassador met with institute director Neil Turok and wanted to know about how PI’s model of bringing together experts from various backgrounds could work for similar “centres of excellence” in African nations.

“I’m very interested in their efforts in math and science in Africa,” he said, before his visit.

Perimeter spokesperson John Matlock said the institute is “happy to share our model with the world,” and pleased the ambassador has taken an interest in its work. But Jacobson is far from the first international visitor to want to see the region’s successful formula for combining research and innovation with commercial ventures.

Jacobson’s final stop of the day was at Raytheon Canada, the company that makes all the radars used at U.S. airports. Jacobson wanted to know how the company’s high-frequency surface wave radar systems, recently bought by the Romanian government for surveillance on the Black Sea, could be used to improve American border security, said Raytheon general manager Brian Smith.

“He understood we had some very interesting technology in that sector and he wanted to see it first hand,” Smith said. “We’re not just on his radar, we are his radar.”

Jacobson also touched on a few issues that resonate outside the region, too. He said only Canadians should decide what kind of role the country takes in Afghanistan after 2011 — and that Washington has not asked Canada to do anything beyond that.

He stepped carefully on the issue, perhaps in light last month’s comments by Hillary Clinton that she was disappointed with Canada’s commitment to end its combat role next year. And he was speaking on the week that Canada lost another soldier in the Afghan mission — this one from nearby Bright, Ont.

Jacobson said he’d like Canada to remain in Afghanistan, but wouldn’t say in what capacity that should be.

“The United States wants all of its coalition partners, and that includes Canada, to stay as long as they can,” the ambassador said.

And he said his government has no interest in re-opening NAFTA, which may disappoint, but not surprise, those who feel the accord needs to better protect workers and the environment.

Jacobson also said the U.S. has more work to do to improve efficiency at the border, though he pointed out wait times for drivers have been reduced by a third since 2006 and by half for goods.
Post #4684
04-14-2010 02:34 PM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 2,946 Urban Reward Points 100
Cool, now how do we get his boss to visit, side-trip before/after the G8/G20 summit?

I was trying to read the ambassador's blog post regarding his visit, but it doesn't seem to be working at the moment: http://blogs.ottawa.usembassy.gov/am...ener-waterloo/
Post #4685
04-14-2010 02:41 PM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 2,946 Urban Reward Points 100
How do you get a link to start working? Post that it doesn't then try it again.

Despite the title, I was a bit disappointed there was only a sentence on the region.

April 13, 2010 – Kitchener-Waterloo

I spent yesterday in Toronto giving a speech about the border. I also met with Toronto Mayor David Miller and we went to the Blue Jays home opener against the White Sox. Sox won which I suppose is good news. But I’m a Cubs fan. So I’m not quite sure.

At the White House I was regularly chastised for rooting for the Cubs instead of the President’s beloved White Sox. My response was always that I had not come to Washington to sell out my principles. Thought about that several times last night when people asked me to wear a Sox hat.

Today I was in Kitchener-Waterloo, meeting with people at RIM (I’m a good customer) the Perimeter Institute (the home of some of the world’s leading work in theoretical physics – none of which I understood) and Raytheon to learn about radar. So I wasn’t in Washington at the Nuclear Security Summit. But I’ve been following developments there closely.

As the President said, it truly is an “unprecedented gathering to address an unprecedented threat.” The task before us is a great one. Daunting, but imperative. As the President observed, plutonium “the size of an apple” in the wrong hands could kill or injure hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

For anyone questioning the strength of the U.S.-Canada relationship, I hope they note how our partnership leads by example. I was pleased to see the announcement that the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will cooperate with the IAEA on the conversion of Mexico’s highly enriched uranium. President Obama welcomed this step as a “signal of our strong trilateral partnership, and our shared commitment to nuclear security in North America.”

Canada was one of the earliest countries to step up to demonstrate its strong leadership on this critical issue, by announcing yesterday its intention to transfer highly enriched uranium back to the United States.

The smiles of the Prime Minister and the President as they met once again in Washington say it all.
Prime Minister Harper & President Obama, Photo courtesy of the Prime Minister's Office

Prime Minister Harper & President Obama, Photo courtesy of the Prime Minister's Office