Gimli – May 30, 2006 -- In 2003, Western Premiers advanced a package of reforms aimed at modernizing the federation and building constructive and collaborative federal-provincial-territorial relations. Western Premiers today welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to Open Federalism and noted the significant commonalities between the federal and western initiatives.
Western Premiers were pleased that many of the reforms they advanced in 2003 have been supported by the Prime Minister and believe there is now an important opportunity to make progress together. Building on the shared objective of improving the operation of the federation, Premiers reiterated their desire to pursue reforms with the federal government based on the following principles:
- The clarification of roles and responsibilities between governments in order to avoid duplication and enhance government accountability.
- Regular First Ministers’ meetings, with substantive agendas that are jointly determined between Premiers and the Prime Minister.
- Provinces and Territories should be full participants in international discussions which will have a direct impact on areas of provincial and territorial jurisdiction and economies. A formal agreement that allows provinces and territories to participate in setting the terms of reference for international negotiations and sign off on the final agreements. This will ensure international agreements are realistic, affordable and acceptable to all provinces and territories.
- Territories, similar to provinces, should manage and control the scope and pace of development of their resources and should be the primary beneficiaries from their development. Northern devolution agreements with the Northwest Territories and Nunavut should arrange for the transfer of powers over northern lands, water and resources, including a fair share of resource revenues.
- New institutional arrangements should aim at harmonizing intergovernmental regulatory regimes and eliminating duplication and overlap in areas such as skilled labour, immigration and internal trade.
- Provinces and territories should be consulted on federal appointments that affect their jurisdictions
Director of Cabinet Communications
Province of Manitoba