Canadian Premiers met in Charlottetown this week to discuss the many challenges facing the Canadian economy. Issues such as greater investment in infrastructure, energy and the environment and labour issues were discussed. The most critical issue on the table was the need to remove internal barriers that divide Canada’s national market into small provincial blocks in some industries.
Today, the Premiers promised to correct the situation. If they mean what they say, it’s very good news. For years, Canadian businesses have struggled to navigate the complex system of differing rules, regulations and standards. These minor differences increase costs, reduce our efficiency and warn foreign investors away from our country.
While we fight for success around the world, we also need to ensure our domestic market is free. In the last few years, Canadian businesses have actually had greater commercial rights in some foreign markets than they enjoy in their own country. This is an embarrassment. Removing the remaining internal barriers will not only increase economic opportunities amongst the provinces and territories but will place Canada in a better position compared our major international competitors.
We have been strongly urging the Council of the Federation to demonstrate leadership in this area by committing to improve our internal trade regime. The Canadian business community is encouraged by the renewed attention by the Council of the Federation on internal trade. The premiers now have to deliver on the promises that they’ve made.