A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada

Weekly Washington Wrap

  • On Tuesday, ‎Ohio Governor John Kasich became the 16th major candidate to seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.  Kasich, who previously served as Budget Committee chairman in the US House of Representatives, is expected to be the last big name to enter the race. 
  • Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew were on Capitol Hill this week trying to sell the Obama administration's Iranian nuclear deal to Congress. All three secretaries testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday and have also briefed members in a classified setting.President Obama hosted several House Democrats at the White House yesterday to discuss the Iran deal in a 90 minute meeting in the Situation Room. Congress will vote on the deal in September.
  • The Senate has spent much of the week trying to pass a transportation bill.  Congress must act before funding expires at the end of the month. The House has already passed a temporary extension that runs into December. The Senate is currently working on a long term bill and is expected to be in session this weekend to continue consideration of the bill and a wide array of amendments. However, House leaders are urging the Senate to pass the House's short term bill before Congress leaves Washington for August recess. Stay tuned...  
  • Tennessee Congresswoman Diane Black has introduced a bill this week to deny all federal funding for Planned Parenthood after hours of disturbing undercover video surfaced revealing the harvesting and selling of the organs of aborted babies by the organization.  Planned Parenthood receives hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding each year and performs hundreds of thousands of abortions.   Numerous states, congressional leaders, as well as GOP presidential candidates, are calling for investigations into whether Planned Parenthood has violated laws that prohibited the sale of the tissue and organs of unborn children. 
  • Official emails continue to be in the news this week with two inspectors general asking the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether President Obama's former top diplomat mishandled classified information in connection with her private email account.  In a June 29 memo, the inspectors general say they found "hundreds of potentially classified emails" on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email account that she used exclusively for her official business.  Clinton has said she used the account because it was more convenient, but it also shielded her correspondence from congressional and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.  On Monday, a federal judge rebuked the State Department at a hearing in Washington for failing to respond to FOIA requests related to Clinton's work at State, some of which are four years old.  Clinton is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for president and there is no word from the Justice Department on whether it will open an investigation into her private email account.   In a separate matter, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz is promising new fallout as "early as next week" in the admitted targeting of conservative Americans by the federal tax collection agency the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).   Chaffetz told a group in Washington, DC this week the committee's review of the IRS and its "lost emails" is the "biggest thing" his committee is looking into. 

The Peaks at PNWER

David Wilkins and the team were proud to join friends and colleagues from both sides of the US-Canada border for one of the best bilat meetings of the year – the annual Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) conference held July 12-16 in big, beautiful, Big Sky, Montana. 

This year's meeting was extra special as it marked the 25th annual summit, and PNWER Executive Director Matt Morrison and his team did their usual stellar job of making it an exceptional and worthwhile experience for the 540 participating delegates. 

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Nelson Mullins was proud to be a co-sponsor of the kick-off reception featuring Montana SenatorSteve Daines whom your former US ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, was honored to introduce. 

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Welcome to Montana!  Senator Steve Daines is a gracious host and welcomes PNWER delegates to Big Sky!

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Bird's Eye View of Big Sky! 

In addition to Matt Morrison, it was great to see PNWER program coordinator Felicia Muncasterand program manager Megan Levy, as well as PNWER President and Northwest Territories MLADavid Ramsay.  We are always thrilled to see former US diplomat turned Imperial Oil executiveTom Huffaker and his lovely wife, Claire.  (By the way, Imperial Oil sponsored a dinner that featured something we bet few have ever experienced before – a "pitchfork fondue."  Look closely at the pic below.  What you're looking at is a big ol' pile of choice steaks that have been fried to perfection in a big ol' pot of oil -- on a pitchfork.  (Yep, we were skeptical, too, but the results were exceedingly delish.)

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Pitch perfect – pitchfork fondue! 

It was also wonderful to see Canada's current US Ambassador Bruce Heyman as well as Canada's Deputy Head of Mission to the US Denis Stevens, Penner Pacific's Barry Penner, Can/Am Border Trade Alliance President and CEO Jim Phillips, Saskatchewan's Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart, Canada-US Interparliamentary Group's June Dewetering, and Jason Ennis with Impact Consulting.  It was a real treat to hear from Montana Governor Steve Bullockwho served as a keynote speaker, and to listen to an energy panel featuring our good friend Mike Monea from SaskPower who talked about the cutting-edge success of Saskatchewan's Boundary Dam III project. 

A surprising and special moment came for David Wilkins when he received the 2015 Robert DayMemorial Award for his special leadership through the years to the PNWER region. 

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David Wilkins received props at PNWER!

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New Top Tiger

After six years leading the Clemson University Board of Trustees, David Wilkins handed over the chairman's gavel to his good friend, Smyth McKissick, who was elected his successor earlier this month.  Although ineligible to lead beyond his three, two-year terms, Wilkins will remain an active member on the board of his beloved alma mater. 

Here's how the Greenville News reported it on July 17: 

After leading the Clemson University Board of Trustees for six years, David Wilkins stepped down as chairman Friday in an emotional passing of the baton, and Smyth McKissick of Easley was elected as his successor.

“It has been an incredible honor to lead this board,” Wilkins said toward the end of the board’s quarterly meeting in Greenville. “It is truly one of the highlights of my life.”

Wilkins, who was South Carolina Speaker of the House for 11 years and the U.S. Ambassador to Canada for four, noted that during his time as chairman the university had hired a new president, athletic director, provost, basketball coach, baseball coach, and had more football wins than in any other four-year period in history. It also started a record number of capital projects.

He got choked up when he tried to put it all in perspective.

“In closing,” he said, pausing to compose himself. “I never get this way. Look, I fully understand I’m just an ordinary guy from Greenville who for whatever reason the good Lord has allowed me to have some extraordinary experiences.”

Wilkins will remain on the board but not as chairman.

McKissick’s name was the only one submitted when trustees were asked for nominations, Trustee Kim Wilkerson said. He was elected unanimously.

“The most important thing,” McKissick told The Greenville News afterward, “is to see Clemson continue to be the best that we can be, to focus on the student experience.”

Just Cuz They're Cute

Here's a snap of David and Susan's grandkids – the perfect and precious Whit and Clary Wilkins– caught here on the 4th of July and included in your Special Edition CCC just cuz we can!

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Whit and Clary – the Wilkins Wonder Twins!

They Said What?

  • "It is not abortion rights or Roe v. Wade, they are selling body parts at Planned Parenthood. And the Democrats, it is not just Hillary Clinton, it is everybody in the party who are silent on this, stay silent at their peril. This is going to be a huge issue when Congress returns in the fall," – The Hill columnist A.B. Stoddard on the Planned Parenthood video scandal.  
  • "For more than a century, Planned Parenthood has provided essential services for women.  And I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood has been the object of such a concerted attack for so many years. And it's really an attack against a woman's right to chose," – Hillary Clinton addressing the Planned Parenthood scandal at a campaign event in Greenville, South Carolina yesterday. 
  • "Let me tell you. The people don't trust you and the people don't trust the media. And I understand why," – GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump in a testy interview with CNN'sAnderson Cooper this week. 
  • "I think Donald Trump is a political car wreck and people slow down and look at the wreck but they eventually move on. I believe when it comes to winning a national election as a republican Donald Trump is not the pathway forward," – GOP presidential candidate and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in an interview with CNN Wednesday -- his first after Trump made headlines giving out Graham's personal cell phone number at a political rally in South Carolina earlier this week. 
  • "Iran has had almost four years to reveal the past military work they have done on their nuclear program. The site... where they have tested detonators for a nuclear weapon, this may have been a firm line that Iran would not draw. And the US negotiating team refused to draw their own line or to walk away from the deal. So John Kerry acted like Pontius Pilate, he washed his hands, kicked it to the IAEA, knowing Congress would not get this information unless someone went out to find it," – Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton regarding  the Obama Administration's nuclear deal with Iran on MSNBC