44th Annual Premiers’ Conference


CHARLOTTETOWN, July 11, 2003. Premiers discussed a range of issues affecting the economy and jobs for Canadians.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)

Premiers noted there is no scientific basis for the maintenance of the temporary ban on beef and cattle and other ruminant products such as caribou and muskox from Canada. Scientific investigation has demonstrated that these products are safe. Premiers stressed that good science and common sense must take command, and that it is time to confront those who would keep the border closed for political purposes. Canada’s beef industry depends on concerted action with the Federal Government and on the relentless pursuit of reopening the border. Premiers agreed to work with individual governors and the National Governor’s Association to request their assistance in reopening the border.

Premiers have endorsed new measures to completely remove specified risk materials from the food chain and encourage the federal government to work with the United States to move forward together on this initiative. Premiers call for the suspension of further issuance of supplementary import permits, with a view to ensuring maximum opportunity for Canadian producers.


All Premiers recognize that affordable and accessible automobile insurance is important to both consumers and businesses throughout Canada. Many provinces and territories are taking action to address issues under their jurisdictional control and Premiers agreed that there are areas of mutual concern and opportunities for cooperation. Premiers are committed to ensuring that insurance is available and affordable. Premiers agreed as a first step to share information and strategies for a more coordinated effort to address rising claim costs and underwriting practices. Premiers noted that some areas of insurance regulation are within federal jurisdiction. They called on the Federal Government to do its part by immediately reviewing its regulations pertaining to the insurance industry.

Interest Rate Policy

Premiers discussed the state of the Canadian and United States economies. The US is Canada’s largest trading partner, with 85% of the country’s exports headed south of the border.

The divergence in interest rate policy between Canada and the United States is a major impediment to trade and Canadians jobs. With the latest reduction by the US Federal Reserve, the interest rate spread between the two countries now stands at 250 basis points. The difference in short term borrowing costs affects consumers, workers, and business operators.

On July 15th, the Bank of Canada has an opportunity to take action and cut interest rates. For the sake of trade and Canadian jobs, Premiers call on the Bank to make appropriate interest rate cuts to narrow the gap with the United States.

National Diamond Strategy

Canada is currently producing approximately 12% of the world’s rough diamonds, (over $1 billion per year) placing it third in the world, behind Botswana and Russia and ahead of South Africa.

Premiers have directed their Ministers to develop an action plan for a national diamond strategy that maximizes the benefits to Canadians from all stages of the emerging diamond industry and to report back to Premiers. Premiers will invite the federal government and other stakeholders to join the provinces and territories in the development of this important national initiative.

Northern Economic Development

Premiers agreed that restoration of northern economic development agreements is necessary in order to ensure that economic development opportunities in the North are maximized. In the long term, investment in the territorial economies will reduce dependence on government and will result in strong self-reliant territories that will be active partners in the federation, to the benefit of all Canadians.

Shrimp Quota Allocation

Premiers recognized that Nunavut does not enjoy the same level of access to fisheries as do other jurisdictions. Premiers recognized that Nunavut should enjoy a fair share of the fishery resources to which it is entitled under its land claim settlement agreement.

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For information:

Patrick Dorsey
Office of Premier Pat Binns
Tel: (902) 368-4402