May 9, 2008
The following is being distributed at the request of the Council of Atlantic Premiers:
Council of Atlantic Premiers Meet in New Brunswick
New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham chaired the 15th meeting of the Council of Atlantic Premiers today at the Delta Fredericton Hotel. Premiers Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador, Rodney MacDonald of Nova Scotia, and Robert Ghiz of Prince Edward Island attended the meeting.
Atlantic Collaboration for Citizens
Health Promotion and Wellness
Premiers also discussed the critical importance of assisting Atlantic youth in need. The use of illicit drugs by youth has risen over the past decade with increasing economic and social impacts. Premiers discussed collaborative approaches to youth treatment which may include the use of Portage Atlantic Facility at Cassidy Lake, NB, and other recognized services.
The Atlantic provinces are facing critical challenges in maintaining the existing social housing stock and responding to new demands for social housing, and are united in their desire to engage the federal government in re-establishing a partnership to provide affordable social housing in Canada.
Premiers call upon the federal government to return to federal social housing contribution levels of $2 billion annually, renew housing programs set to expire in March 2009, and engage with ministers responsible for housing on the broad range of housing issues facing the country.
Maritime Radio Communications System
Each of the Maritime provinces operates an independent radio communications system for the coordination of its respective emergency responder communities. The ability of provinces to respond to emergency situations is strengthened by leveraging appropriate technology, infrastructure, and equipment.
Maritime premiers agreed to explore the development of a common public radio communications system to achieve efficiencies and provide seamless interoperability between provinces. Premiers directed ministers to pursue the development of a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize their partnership.
Atlantic Collaboration for Economic Growth
Research and Development
Premiers noted that several key infrastructure projects are being advanced that will contribute to greater regional interconnection as well as the region�s ability to manage increasing international trade with traditional markets, such as North America and Europe, and emerging markets, such as China and India.
Premiers agreed that the federal government should invest immediately in the Atlantic Gateway to position the region for increased economic growth. Raising awareness of the competitive advantages of Atlantic Canada internationally and within North America is fundamental to the Gateway�s future success.
Premiers acknowledged the valuable contribution of the private sector and urged their continued support for development of a competitive, multi-modal transportation system that will link the Atlantic Gateway to key markets.
Given the importance of rail service to the development of the Atlantic Gateway, premiers welcomed the recently announced review by Transport Canada of non-passenger rail service. They committed to actively engage in the review process to ensure that service levels support the economic development of the region.
Premiers acknowledged the ongoing work of the Atlantic Energy Ministers to promote energy efficiency, reduce energy demand, investigate options for development and use of low carbon fuels, and facilitate the development of low-emission renewable energy, such as tidal, nuclear, and wind.
Premiers also recognized the importance of working with the federal government in developing regulations and agreements that recognize Atlantic Canada�s unique circumstances regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation. Premiers encouraged the Council of Atlantic Ministers of the Environment to continue these efforts when they meet with federal Environment Minister Baird in June in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Atlantic premiers today discussed progress on the Council�s five-point plan and urged federal, provincial, and territorial governments to conclude their work in all areas prior to the Council of the Federation�s 2008 summer meeting, to be held July 16-18 in Qu�bec City.
Enhanced Driver�s Licences
Atlantic premiers reviewed an analysis commissioned by Atlantic registrars of motor vehicles that assessed the costs, technical requirements, and benefits of producing EDLs for Atlantic Canadians. This information was considered in conjunction with the results of discussions with the Canadian Border Service Agency.
Premiers directed the Atlantic registrars of motor vehicles to consider options for regional cooperation to gain shared benefits and cost efficiencies.
Promoting Atlantic Canada
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2008 05 08 4:25 p.m.
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