British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta launched the New West Partnership today, creating an economic powerhouse of nine million people with a combined GDP of more than $550 billion.
The New West Partnership is an ambitious agreement that will create Canada's largest interprovincial barrier-free trade and investment market and see the three westernmost provinces work together in unprecedented ways to the benefit of workers, businesses and investors in all three provinces.
"In today's global economy we need to break down barriers and open trade within our borders to build a stronger Canada," British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell said. "The New West Partnership creates a strong economic alliance in Western Canada that will build stronger connections between our provinces and improve our competitiveness."
"This represents an historic step forward for western provinces, as they work together to provide economic leadership," Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said. "We are combining the strength of our three vibrant economies and working together to create lasting prosperity. Our three provinces have created a model that cements the West as the economic powerhouse of Canada."
"To compete in the 21st century global economy, governments must work together to break down barriers and create opportunity," Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach said. "The New West Partnership creates more choice for businesses, workers and consumers. It allows the West to market itself as one region to bolster export development and attract investment."
The three provinces signed the New West Partnership at the third joint British Columbia-Alberta-Saskatchewan Cabinet meeting in Regina. Building on shared strengths, the New West Partnership contains four components:
* A comprehensive economic agreement, which will remove remaining barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility, further enhancing the competitiveness of Canada's Western Provinces.
* An international co-operation agreement, that will see the three provinces co-operate on trade and investment missions to international markets, and share foreign market intelligence to advance joint interests and increase business competitiveness.
* An innovation agreement, which will enable provincial innovation efforts to be co-ordinated to better attract investment and talent, helping build critical mass of innovation activities in the West.
* A procurement agreement that will enable the provinces to capitalize on their combined buying power through the joint procurement of goods and services.
The first major undertaking of the New West Partnership will be a joint mission to China and Japan in May. Together, the three provinces will promote trade and commerce opportunities with Canada's newest free-trade region and draw attention to the New West's global leadership in clean technology, natural resources, and agri-food and agriculture.
The Premiers will also highlight Western Canada's many geographic and infrastructure advantages, including the region's multi-modal Pacific Gateway and Corridor transportation system, and their unwavering support for open skies and open trade with the Asia Pacific region.
The New West Partnership Agreement can be viewed at www.gov.sk.ca/nwp