Council of Atlantic Premiers

Council of Atlantic Premiers meets in Summerside (08/12/08)

NB 1788

Dec. 8, 2008

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. (CNB) - Atlantic premiers met today in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, for their regular Council of Atlantic Premiers meeting. At the top of their agenda was a call to the federal government for increased and accelerated infrastructure funding in light of the current global economic slowdown. The premiers expressed confidence in the economies of the four Atlantic provinces, and reaffirmed their commitment to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the region. The premiers will continue to work collaboratively to provide Atlantic Canadians with high-quality and efficient public services.

Premier Robert Ghiz chaired the 16th session of the Council of Atlantic Premiers meeting, which was also attended by New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham, Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald, and Shawn Skinner, Newfoundland and Labrador minister of innovation, trade and rural development.

Economic competitiveness

The premiers discussed specific actions to ensure that their provincial economies are well positioned for economic growth and to enhance the economic competitiveness of the region.

As they continue to work within the Council of the Federation and with the federal government to address the impact of the global economic and fiscal situation on Canada, the Atlantic premiers support short- and long-term economic goals through strategic investments in key infrastructure projects and new trade opportunities that create jobs in the four provinces, and position the economy for a robust recovery.

The Atlantic premiers look forward to the first ministers' meeting on Jan. 16, 2009, as premiers and the prime minister take the opportunity to work together to strengthen Canada's economy.

Energy corridor

The Atlantic premiers encourage the federal government to make a major investment in electricity transmission infrastructure in the Atlantic region. The creation of a green energy transmission corridor through each of the Atlantic provinces would provide the critical eastern anchor to Canada's energy superpower profile. In addition to its impact on greenhouse gas emission reductions, enhancing transmission infrastructure in the region will also allow greater development of intermittent resources, such as hydro, wind, and tidal. The substantial federal infrastructure investment would also provide stimulus to the economy.

Environment

The Council of Atlantic Premiers remains committed to mitigating and adapting to climate change. The premiers are working within their own provinces and regionally on energy efficiency and renewable energy. The federal Eco-Action Trust, together with provincial commitments, is an important tool in supporting these efforts which have provided significant environmental and economic benefits to the Atlantic provinces. The premiers congratulated the federal government for its commitment to this beneficial program. Based on the success of the Eco-Action Trust and the need for action to stimulate the economy, Atlantic premiers are calling on the federal government to continue this program beyond the existing timeline, and seek increased funding.

Affordable housing

Housing is a major determinant of a society's quality of life, and is directly linked to an individual's health and well-being, educational achievement, social connections, success in the labour market and poverty alleviation. The Atlantic provinces are facing critical challenges in maintaining existing social housing structures, and responding to new demands for social housing.

The premiers affirm that they are united in their desire to engage the federal government in re-establishing a partnership to provide affordable social housing in Canada. They are encouraged by recent commitments by the federal government to renew housing agreements which are set to expire on March 31, 2009. The premiers called on the federal government to work with provincial ministers responsible for housing on the broad range of housing issues facing the country.

Atlantic co-operation

Atlantic premiers remain committed to working together in strategic areas in order to achieve efficiencies and enhance services for Atlantic Canadians.

2009 Canada Summer Games

The premiers met with the president of the host society for the 2009 Canada Games. More than 6,000 volunteers will be required for the Games, which will be held in P.E.I. in August 2009. Individuals from across the region are encouraged to apply for these volunteer opportunities at www.2009canadagames.ca.

08/12/08

MEDIA CONTACTS: Marie-Andrée Bolduc, New Brunswick, 506-444-2286, Elizabeth Matthews, Newfoundland and Labrador, 709-729-3960, Wade Keller, Nova Scotia, 902-424-6600; Erin Mitchell, Prince Edward Island, 902-368-4400.

08/12/08