The Maritime Premiers moved Friday to reduce red tape for businesses in the region -- something they hope will help create jobs and economic growth in the three have-not provinces.
Meeting in Charlottetown, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil welcomed P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan to join their joint project called the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness.
"Our overall approach ... is to reduce red tape and position our regional economy for growth and job creation," said MacLauchlan.
'Economic development matters'
"Today we confirmed an alignment among our three provinces, and again, a good inter-personal chemistry among our three leaders," said MacLauchlan, who was elected May 4th.
'Now we'll move forward and focus on trade barriers.' — Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil
"We're sending a clear message to the business community, to our citizens, that economic development matters, job creation matters, and the fact that we are moving on beginning to streamline and bring in a level of consistency when it comes to regulations is a positive thing," said Premier McNeil.
McNeil noted there are large corporations such as Irving working in all three of provinces that have to comply with different regulations.
"Our economies are very inter-linked," added Brian Gallant for New Brunswick. "So for us to make sure as a region to make it as easy as possible and seamless as possible for a business to start up, to grow, to invest in the Maritimes, is crucial."
The premiers also adopted something called a premiers' charter outlining their "shared vision" for regulation.
"Now we'll move forward and focus on trade barriers that exist between our provinces so that goods and services can freely move among our region," said McNeil.
A more receptive Ottawa
All three said they believe the region will see a change in attitude from Ottawa under Justin Trudeau's Liberals.
Gallant said he looks forward to working with the new federal regime, "ensuring we are overcoming some of our challenges and seizing some of the opportunities that are before us."
McNeil pointed out the Maritime region could capitalize on some of Trudeau's election promises, including a new infrastructure plan.
He said they'd also like to see a change to the funding formula under the Health Accord.