Pallister asked to slash red tape between provinces

Pallister asked to slash red tape between provinces

After convincing his provincial counterparts to increase the flow of beer across borders, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has been recruited to cut more red tape.

Pallister and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil have been asked to lead future discussions on improving interprovincial trade, it was announced Friday following the national premiers' meeting in Saint Andrews, N.B.

In addition to alcoholic beverages, Canada's premiers agreed this week at the Council of the Federation talks to slash regulatory hurdles on first aid kits, trucking regulations and meat, among other goods.

"We all recognize that these items are costing Canadians money, that are costing us jobs," Pallister said in a conference call from New Brunswick.

In advance of the premiers' meeting, Pallister asked his colleagues to reduce limits on interprovincial transportation of alcohol for personal use — and to consider eliminating the restrictions entirely.

The provinces did not follow the lead of Manitoba and Alberta, which have no limits, but they decided to at least double the amount of liquor individuals can move across provincial borders.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister insisted Thursday that Canada's liquor trade should be freed up:

Pallister told reporters Friday the provinces should work together to promote a positive trading relationship with the United States.

"The point I made to our colleagues here is we can't just keep talking here to the same nodding heads." Pallister said. "A lot of Americans are already on side with us. We need to talk to those who are uninformed."

"The president of the United States is clearly someone who needs to have his mind changed," he added.

Money needed for asylum seekers

Pallister joined Ontario and Quebec's premiers in calling for more federal help dealing with asylum seekers crossing their borders.

Ottawa already promised $3 million to Manitoba, but Pallister says that figure is not sufficient. The province previously suggested they'd need $9-10 million to cover expenditures like housing and processing applications, he said.

"We're wiling to be partners with the federal government on this but we do expect them to be genuine partners."

Pallister said asylum seekers are "jumping the queue," while immigrants following legal processes are waiting in line.

"They have not taken the measures necessary to address this issue in a fair way," he said of the federal government.

Their communique is "never to be taken as a statement against immigration or refugees," Pallister said. "Other provinces as well should not have their position criticized on the basis that it's anti-immigration. It's pro–legal immigration."

Other provinces joined Manitoba at the meeting to ask Greyhound to park its Oct. 31 departure date for two months.

He believes other transportation companies can take the wheel from there. Private companies are "notorious," he said, at making challenging business environments work for them.

"Just because Greyhound didn't find them profitable, doesn't mean someone else might not."

Talks between the premiers were upstaged Thursday when Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his province would intervene in Saskatchewan's court challenge of Ottawa's carbon tax plan.

Pallister was forced to reaffirm his "made in Manitoba" carbon tax when a tweet from Ford appeared to suggest that Manitoba wanted to do away with the carbon tax. Ford's tweet has since been deleted.

"What you have to do there is give Premier Ford a break," Pallister said on Thursday. "They just became government a matter of a few days ago and so these are the kinds of things that happen."