Délégations du Québec
The government of Quebec has at various times over the years operated up to 20 or more delegations, or offices, representing Quebec abroad to symbolize the province's open relations with the rest of the world after decades of introversion. These offices have handled issues related to public relations, international trade and in fact all areas in which the provincial government is active. The term "delegation" was chosen to minimize diplomatic conflict with the federal government regarding Canada's existing network of embassies and consulates, hence the unique status of some of Quebec's delegations, such as that in Washington, D.C., which is officially a tourism office. Quebec's main offices, known as "general delegations," are located in New York City (opened in 1943), Paris (opened in 1961), and London (opened in 1962), along with others in Brussels, Mexico City and Tokyo. Over the years, offices have been established in other francophone countries (Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 1970) and regions in which French interests could be better served, as in Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1970. The delegation network was also designed to service the native countries of Quebec's immigrant population, with four offices founded exclusively for this purpose, in Bangkok, Damascus, Lisbon and Port-au-Prince. Other offices have had primarily economic mandates, such as the secondary delegations opened in the United States (Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Boston). Offices were also established in Asia, elsewhere in Europe and in Latin America.
In 1996, the government of Quebec decided to adopt a new approach, closing most of the offices with the exception of the general delegations and addressing economic issues jointly with private and public organizations, such as the NATIONAL BANK and the CAISSE DE DÉPÔT ET PLACEMENT DU QUÉBEC, or through the services of mobile delegates travelling to countries in which Quebec has an interest. This new approach has been subject to ongoing changes, with some of the closed offices quietly reopening in acknowledgment that certain functions, such as networking, can only be adequately fulfilled through a permanent presence.