CANADA - Manitoba's Premier is applauding an agreement in principle that promises to lead to the reduction of barriers to trade within Canada, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Last week in Whitehorse Canada's Premiers reached an agreement that will enable freer trade within Canada and begin to eliminate regulatory barriers between the provinces and territories.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says his province believes in trade and relies on trade as a key part of building its economy.
Brian Pallister-Premier Manitoba:
I was really impressed with the premiers of the other jurisdictions and their willingness to set aside some of the natural tendencies we all have to defend the parochial interests of our own jurisdictions and to take a look at what is in the best interest of the country as a whole.
There are other pressures that are real and emerging, not the least of which is the United States Presidential race which is featuring an overt animosity toward things like NAFTA and trade with Canada and Canadians.
We have to be prepared to make sure, if we expect trade to be enhanced with the United States, that we enhance it among our own members of this confederation.
A the same time the federal government, past and present, has pursued new trade deals with other parts of the world.
Again it is just incongruous to have more liberal trade with Germany and France and Japan than it is between Nova Scotia, Ontario and Manitoba so we are really pleased to say that we think the agreement, and of course it remains to be drafted so it's not a fait accompli, but the agreement in principle has been reached on something that has been in negotiation for over two decades and we're tremendously pleased to have been part of that.
Mr Pallister says Manitoba clearly expressed its desire at the meeting for the removal of barriers to trade that drive up costs for businesses and complicate their ability to operate in more than one jurisdiction and that drive up prices for taxpayers.
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