Atlantic premiers plan better co-operation on reducing red tape, pot plans
Premiers discuss employment, immigration, tourism and that oceans supercluster bid
The Atlantic premiers wrapped up another meeting Monday in Halifax with an agenda that included the Atlantic growth strategy, the legalization of marijuana and the proposed oceans supercluster for the region.
P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan said he and his colleagues discussed aligning their approach to pot legalization — "more in the nature of reporting in …and so far, so good."
Of top concern is the quality of the cannabis the governments will provide, MacLauchlan told reporters as the meeting wrapped up.
"What people buy, the cannabis that they buy from our four governments, is going to be of reliable quality — it's not going to be crooked, or poison or kill you," he said.
"That is a huge public health issue right now and the fact that we're stepping forward with legal cannabis that is of reliable quality is a major offering in terms of the public health of Canadians."
MacLauchlan said the premiers also discussed aligning regulations in other areas across the four provinces — for example, ensuring 16 technical trades such as welding and refrigeration have similar certification so they can work easily throughout the region.
The fact that we're stepping forward with legal cannabis that is of reliable quality is a major offering.— Premier Wade MacLauchlan
"Overall we're seeing more alignment or harmonization in the way we go at things in the four provinces and that's good for everyone in terms of investment and work," P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan told CBC Radio: Mainstreet's Angela Walker.
Along similar lines, MacLauchlan said the premiers discussed reducing red tape and aligning minimum wage rates in the region. They extended the "successful" Atlantic Workforce Partnership that helps recruit and train skilled workers, and discussed their collaboration with the federal government on the Atlantic Growth Strategy which has helped with trade promotion, immigration and tourism.
The premiers also reviewed the region's bid to win federal funding for something called an oceans supercluster, which would promote the region's many marine-related businesses, schools and research facilities.
The idea is to build a job-creating region with a strong economy, like Silicon Valley. The region's proposal has already made Ottawa's short list of nine pitches, out of which five will be chosen. The federal government has said it hopes to name successful applicants by the end of March.
"In the case of Prince Edward Island, two of the bigger ways in which we contribute would be the expertise of the Atlantic Veterinary College in aquaculture," MacLauchlan said. "Another would be the work and successful innovation that has been developed by Aspin Kemp Associates in marine power systems."
The premiers meet up to six times a year, MacLauchlan said, which allows them to make progress on common issues.
"There's a strong camaraderie among the premiers and in fact we had a dinner for just the four of us last night, we had breakfast for just the four of us this morning — so we have an opportunity there to really engage," MacLauchlan said.
P.E.I. will host the next meeting of Atlantic premiers in spring 2018.
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With files from CBC Radio: Mainstreet