Almost like a real country. Or Europe. -

Almost like a real country. Or Europe.


Canada’s three western-most provinces are another step closer to a comprehensive economic agreement.

They hope to form the largest barrier-free trade and investment market in Canada, as the three provinces will work closer together on international marketing, innovation and procurement.

“I am pleased that we are one step closer to completing the Western Economic Partnership that we committed to at our last meeting [in March],” said Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. “This partnership will break down unnecessary trade barriers and facilitate co-operation on international marketing, innovation and procurement.”

Hey, great idea! Just blueskying here, but if it works out what say we try this with all ten provinces? We could call it, I don’t know, Canada.

Nah, you’re right. Crazy talk.

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Almost like a real country. Or Europe.

  1. I'm surprised this announcement took all day to reach Maclean's. I heard the story at 9am. I guess good news travels slowly across the country. Oh well, better late than never.

    • It's Western Canada Neil, unless there's ducks drowning in crude…..

  2. Just the three? What about Manitoba? Aren't they 'western'?

    • Geographically, Manitoba is at the centre, with Winnipeg being at the centre of North America. But Manitoba has, as far as I know, been grappling with the same issues that kept Saskatchewan from joining BC and Alberta in the TILMA agreement made in 2007, like dealing with unions and crown corporations. But, unlike Sask., Manitoba didn't come around.

      • It has more to do with an ND govt that is against this. Once rid of them in Sask it proceeded there.

  3. Looking at the picture, I'd say that the premiers are already benefiting from the trade agreement now in effect, now that Lenscrafters can apparently sell the same frames in all three provinces.

    • The Divine Market is indeed wise and benevolent.

  4. Nope, Manatoba's the buffer zone that keeps Ontario & Quebec further away.

  5. Ha ha, Coyne is pushing for internal free trade, he must really believe there is an election coming up despite his bet with Wells.

  6. Yeah, Brad was tripping all over himself yesterday trying to explain to the media why indeed Manitoba has been left out. He didn't do very well defending his rationale — see if you're interested.

    I kind of think it's because MB is NDP.

  7. Call me crazy, but "the largest barrier-free trade and investment market in Canada" is Ontario, at 12 and some million, to this Block's 4+3+1 million. Second biggest, then?

    • I thought Ontario has an agreement with Quebec, but other provinces?

  8. Can anyone name a “trade barrier” that currently exists between those three provinces?

  9. I'm not really up to scratch on this but…aren't there still issues with TIMLA and a concern that local and regional environmental issues/regs for instance will be sacrificed on the altar of corporate Canada?

  10. This is the spineless federal governments fault.

    It's THEIR fault to force the economic union on everyone. It shouldn't be up to the Premiers to negotiate amongst themselves like nations negotiate with other nations.

    Then again, we are a bunch of nations with a a nation within a united Canada, or some sort of garbage like that, so I guess it sort of does make sense.

    • LOL. is a bunch of nations within a united Canada in anyway analagous to a community of communities or as Trudeau memorably dubbed it a confederation of shopping malls or something?

    • Don't underestimate the parochialism of the premiers……

      It's sort of like getting your kids (or your workers) do something that you know is correct: often you need to let them arrive at the decision on their own.

  11. An out-of-province outfit is currently at work refurbishing the Albert Street bridge in Regina, and has been for months.

    What are these interprovincial barriers that we so desperately need to remove?

  12. Like Erin asked – what barriers??? Somebody name some.

    • Professional credentials. Government tenders. Not sure if it is still the case, but beer brewing used to have these insane restrictions, too. Securities regulations. Someone might need to correct me on this, but a lot of supply management agricultural stupidity occurs at the provincial level, I believe.

      Andrew Coyne or someone more intimately involved with the sordid details of the prosperity-sapping provincialism of our provinces will certainly do a better job than I.

      • Anyone could do a better job, since you've provided exactly no evidence to back up your support for Coyne's claim.

        Don't feel bad, though–you're not alone in your inability to provide serious evidence that this is a problem that needs solving.

        • Oh, for the love of… Start with:

          You lazy oafs can google inter-provincial barriers and get your own bloody evidence. It's not hard to learn, and you may develop a marketable skill.

          • "and you may develop a marketable skill."

            (note, marketable skills valid only in one's province of residence. See your Premier for full details and restrictions.)

      • The point of a federal system is to allow different governments to enact different regulations in different geographic areas. It is ridiculous to call every area of differing provincial regulations a “trade barrier.”

        Things like professional certification and securities regulation do not concern trade: the movement of goods and services across borders. If regulatory differences in these areas are a problem, the solution is to adopt national standards rather than to sign more inter-provincial “free trade” deals.

        The 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade already addresses most of the issues raised by madeyoulook. The brewery restrictions are gone and provincial governments cannot discriminate against each other in procurement. Provincial professional associations have had to reconcile their certification standards as far as possible.

        (A Saskatchewan lawyer hoping to practice in Alberta still needs to pass Alberta's bar exam. However, demonstrating knowledge of Alberta jurisprudence strikes me as a reasonable requirement rather than an artificial “barrier.”)

  13. Supply management is hardly an issue in the three western provinces in question. Anyway, essentially all of supply management's economic cost results from the federal tariffs rather than from the provincial restrictions.

    What we have are regulatory differences that are not about trade, historic problems that have already been fixed and debatable federal policies. I have still not seen a list of provincial trade barriers.

  14. I was just hoping the country would break up by now

  15. BTY is 'Googling' a skill term I can bullet on my resume?

  16. So after all the kafuffle in the US with unregulated securities, we are in all honesty talking about decreasing our regulation on securities?