News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

June 29, 2008


JACKSON hOLE, Wyo.—Premier Gary Doer is joining three western Canadian premiers and
more than 12 United States governors at the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) annual meeting where they will discuss common issues such as increasing renewable energy, ensuring border security and access, and improving trade and agricultural policies.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell and Doer are attending the June 29 to July 1 governors’ meeting hosted by WGA chair Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal. Freudenthal recently attended the Western Premiers’ Conference in Prince Albert, Sask.
“When the western premiers met last month, we agreed to adopt a united voice on international trade, especially with respect to building the vital relationship we have with the United States,” Doer said. “Part of this effort is attending the governors’ meeting together to discuss the issues that we are facing in our region, as well as exploring new economic opportunities for growth.”
The four provinces of western Canada are currently enjoying strong economic growth, with Manitoba’s economy projected to grow at 3.9 per cent in 2008, second highest in Canada. Doer said western premiers are eager to keep the momentum growing by tapping into new opportunities and increasing trade with the U.S.
Topics to be raised at the meeting include:
·         Energy and climate change – Western Canada is the largest supplier of energy to the U.S., with Manitoba one of the largest providers of renewable hydro power and a leader on climate change. Manitoba and B.C. are members of the Western Climate Initiative along with seven WGA states.
·         Agriculture – The uncertainty surrounding mandatory country-of-origin labelling provisions in the U.S. farm bill is already causing disruptions in the North American livestock industry. Manitoba continues to advocate for rules that will respect trade obligations on both sides of the border.
·         Water – Managing water supply is an issue affecting western North America, as climate change experts predict drought will be one of the significant issues affecting the prairies in the future. Water also requires cross-border co-operation to manage supply and address quality concerns.
·         Trade – The four western premiers have committed to selling the benefits of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to citizens on both sides of the border. Total bilateral trade between Manitoba and the WGA states was $4.5 billion in 2007.                                                                          
Overall, 36 of the 50 U.S. states count Canada as their largest export market and benefits have been experienced on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border as a result of NAFTA, Doer said, adding the premiers are united in their message that secure, convenient and efficient borders are key to maintaining Canadian economic advantages in the face of global competition.  
“Concerns have been expressed about NAFTA. Our view is this isn’t the time to make the border thicker, it is the time to make it more efficient,” Doer said. “This is why Manitoba is moving ahead with our world-class inland port in Winnipeg and introducing a secure enhanced identification card that can be used as a more affordable and convenient alternative to a passport.”
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will also provide a keynote address at the conference. Kempthorne, the former governor of Idaho, recently declared the polar bear as a threatened species. Manitoba designated the polar bear as threatened in February of this year.
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