Manitoba

Manitoba's crusade to slash red tape takes aim at Ottawa's regulations

Trade barriers between provinces are costing Manitoba families money, Premier Brian Pallister says, and he's had enough.

Federal rules overburdening resource sector, food industries, Premier Brian Pallister says

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is committed to reducing trade barriers between provinces, he said ahead of the upcoming first ministers meeting next week in Ottawa. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Trade barriers between provinces are costing Manitoba families money, Premier Brian Pallister says, and he's had enough.

Pallister will champion the slashing of red tape at next week's meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his provincial counterparts, the premier said on Friday.

Ottawa must cut back on the restrictions it imposed, he said. 

Among them, Pallister criticized new regulatory requirements, including Bill C-69, that he says harm the fisheries and resource sectors.

Barriers crippling Manitoba's potential: Pallister

He railed against differing standards for meat processing, the decision to have more federal oversight on more food products and too many procurement exemptions in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement as well.

The premier said arduous barriers must be reduced, but he wouldn't delve into exactly what needs to be changed.

He said he won't arrive in Ottawa next week with specific asks.

"There's no point unless I get buy-in from the feds that they're ready to look at their own" regulations, he said. "Once we achieve that, then we can move together co-operatively on certain topic issues."

During an economic update last week, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau presented a list of 23 regulatory barriers to tackle. The priority areas include goods transportation (including trucking), food inspection, construction services and alcohol liberalization.

Pallister said the provincial and territorial group he leads with Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is already focused on these matters, and he wants the federal government to acknowledge the barriers it has control over.

Small businesses affected

As an example, Pallister referred to a small Carman-area meat processor trying to take kosher meat to new markets.

Rules that prove detrimental to small businesses like that one sometimes don't matter to the massive corporations Ottawa consults when devising regulations, he said.

Pallister received national attention this summer when he convinced his colleagues to eliminate restrictions on the flow of alcohol across borders

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks with CBC's Hannah Thibedeau ahead of the Council of the Federation talks in New Brunswick 4:48

About the Author

Ian Froese

Reporter

Ian Froese reports from the Manitoba Legislature for CBC Manitoba. He previously wrote for the Brandon Sun and the Carillon in Steinbach. Story idea? Email ian.froese@cbc.ca.