Canada Kicks Ass

B.C., Alberta to 'speak with one voice'
Date: Wednesday, October 08 2003
Topic: Canadian Politics

Alberta and British Columbia signed a pact Wednesday to "speak with one voice" in dealings with Ottawa.

The Protocol of Cooperation commits the two provinces to work together on the national scene to ensure the voices of Albertans and British Columbians are more clearly heard on issues of mutual agreement.

Campbell said the provinces are not interested in fed bashing. The emphasis will be on promoting and developing their economies.

"We are more powerful when we work together," Campbell said following the meeting, which included senior cabinet ministers from both provinces.

"B.C. and Alberta represent over half of Canada's energy sector, and our technology sectors contribute $7 billion to our economies. We want to showcase the best our two provinces have to offer."

The new partnership will officially begin next week with a joint trade mission to Texas and California promoting energy and high-tech ventures. But meeting with California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger is not on the agenda.

"I really don't think Gov. Schwarzenegger will have time to meet with Premier Klein or myself," Campbell said.

The premiers also signed an agreement to "tear down" trade barriers between the provinces and find ways to save taxpayers money. The provinces are looking at co-operating on everything from intergovernmental trade to harmonizing energy regulations.

Details will be fleshed out in the coming months.

Another joint cabinet meeting will be held in April in Prince Rupert, B.C., where the provinces want to expand use of the port to ship goods to Asian markets.

Klein said the provinces also plan to establish a centre of excellence for the so-called P3 format of financing everything from schools to roads.

"It's to make sure that both jurisdictions get it right when we do these things and a centre for other people who are contemplating private-public-partnerships for infrastructure can come for advice and expertise on how to deal with it the right way," he said.


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