Alberta to scrap bevy of exceptions to domestic trade deal
'Alberta is a leader in promoting free trade, job creation, prosperity and value for tax dollars'
Alberta will drop half of its exceptions to the Canada Free Trade Agreement, Premier Jason Kenney announced Wednesday.
The province also plans to review the remaining exceptions and "get as close to zero exceptions as possible," Kenney said at a news conference.
"Alberta is a leader in promoting free trade, job creation, prosperity and value for tax dollars," Kenney said. "And we will do everything we can to encourage our fellow Canadians from coast to coast to help us realize the dream of an economic union in Canada."
Kenney announced the plan at the Council of the Federation meeting in Saskatoon. He said the move will save taxpayers money by increasing competition, and will help Alberta businesses access new markets.
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"Since when are Alberta businesses afraid of competition?" Kenney said. "The Alberta 'get-er done' competitive pro-enterprise attitude relishes competition, and what we're doing here will be opening up more markets for Alberta companies to bid outside of our province. That's good for business, it's good for taxpayers."
The government has targeted 13 exceptions that will be unilaterally removed, including procurement by the legislative assembly and procurement under exceptional circumstances for regional economic development purposes.
The CFTA is an intergovernmental agreement that came into effect in 2017, with the aim to improve trade among provinces and territories. The agreement contains exceptions, which allow provinces to exclude certain items from the deal.
Though the exceptions won't officially be removed from the CFTA immediately, the Alberta government won't be using them, the province said in a news release.