News Release - May 18, 1999
AGRICULTURE, TRANSPORTATION, CHILD POVERTY AND HEALTH KEY ISSUES AT WESTERN PREMIERS' CONFERENCE
Premier Roy Romanow said today he will focus on agriculture, grain
transportation, child poverty and health at this year's Western
Premiers' Conference in Drumheller, Alberta.
Premier Romanow said he will stress that the federal farm aid program
is inadequate for Saskatchewan farmers and that more needs to be done
on international grain subsidies.
"The federal government must ensure that trade rules better protect
Saskatchewan grain farmers from the unfair competition of the US and
the EU," Romanow said. "Our farmers are prepared to compete on a
level playing field but we have to treat our farmers fairly. Ottawa
has to get those subsidies down, or match them."
Romanow stated that he also intends to make grain handling and
transportation a key issue at this year's conference.
"The Estey Review was an important start," Romanow said. "But we, as
western premiers, have to be extremely vigilant in continuing to press
for a world class system that maximizes net returns to producers. To
achieve these objectives, we will continue to press for changes to the
whole system, including branch lines, short lines and roads, and
continue to urge the federal government to ensure that producers are
actively involved in the design and implementation of changes.
"I also intend to continue to press for a national highways
program as the immediate priority in a national transportation
investment strategy. Transportation is absolutely key to
continued prosperity in Western Canada and the federal government
has a responsibility to work with us and invest, as national
government, in the future prosperity of western Canada. A
national highways program is long overdue and I intend to
continue to press for one."
Saskatchewan will lead-off a roundtable discussion on Canada-U.S.
relations with North Dakota Governor, Ed Schafer, who is
attending a special session of the conference on behalf of the
Western Governors' Association.
"Premiers are very concerned about the rising protectionist tide
in the western U.S., especially against our agricultural exports.
We will be discussing with Governor Schafer how the western
provinces and states can work together better to informally
resolve our differences to the mutual benefit of our producers
and our regional economies.
"The Western Premiers' Conference has evolved into a very
important annual event," Romanow said. "It has, over the past
several years, allowed western premiers to shape the national
agenda on critically important social policy issues such as child
poverty and health. Social policy reform, focussing on children
and youth, will continue to be a dominant theme at this year's
conference and a key Saskatchewan priority."
The western premiers' conference will run from Wednesday, May 19
to Friday, May 21, 1999 in Drumheller, Alberta.
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For more information, contact:
Phone: (306) 787-0850