Great Lakes leaders gather in Windsor for international summit

Premier Kathleen Wynne is in Windsor today for the opening of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Leadership Summit.

Provincial and state leaders are expected to discuss the regional economy and the environment

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in Detroit in March, 2017, as part of her outreach to U.S. governors. (Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

Premier Kathleen Wynne arrived in Windsor Friday for the opening of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Leadership Summit, happening through the weekend.

Wynne met with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder before holding a conference this afternoon, where trade seemed to be at the forefront of discussion.

"The free trade framework that we have operated in has benefited all of our jurisdictions," said Wynne. "It's worrisome that there is such a gap between that understanding and what seems to be coming from other parts of the administration."

Snyder echoed the importance of a free trade agreement, and said the summit brings a good opportunity for premiers and governors to have a voice in the discussion happening at upper levels of government on both sides of the border.

"We have a luxury as a governor or a premier - we don't do national issues but we do things on the ground where we actually get to go see good business happen," he said. "Between two countries, between a province and a state, between two states."

Both leaders spoke of the importance of NAFTA on job creation in their jurisdictions and the flow of the economy across the Windsor-Detroit border.

"I'm going to continue to work hard on building bridges both literally and figuratively right out here," said Snyder.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governors Mike Stack of Pennsylvania and Mary Taylor of Ohio are also taking part in the two-day event.

Issues the provincial and state leaders are expected to discuss include the regional economy and the environment.

with files from the Canadian Press