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Pallister wants Manitoba to join push to remove trade barriers between provinces

PC Leader Brian Pallister wants Manitoba to join Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan in lobbying for a new internal trade agreement between the provinces.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

PC Leader Brian Pallister wants Manitoba to join Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan in lobbying for a new internal trade agreement between the provinces.

Manitoba should join a push by other western provinces to join Ottawa in removing internal trade barriers, like needless red tape, between the provinces and territories, Opposition Leader Brian Pallister said today.

Led by Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, Alberta and British Columbia say a reformed national free trade deal, to replace the 20-year-old Agreement on Internal Trade, would benefit all provinces through increased east-west trade and less restricted labour mobility between provinces.

Pallister said the three member premiers of the New West Partnership co-signed a letter to Premier Greg Selinger last week to promote the creation of a new free trade partnership.

Housing and Community Development Minister Peter Bjornson said Manitoba is already involved in national discussions on internal trade. Jobs and Economy Minister Theresa Oswald is the chair of the Committee on Internal Trade representing all provinces and territories.

Bjornson is the former Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade minister.

The federal government says nearly 40 per cent of Canada's trade occurs within Canada's borders and that creation of a new internal trade plan, outlined in the Harper government’s Economic Action Plan 2014, would identify barriers to domestic trade.

The premiers are to discuss Ottawa’s plan at the First Ministers Meeting in Charlottetown next month.

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