News Release Archive



The premiers of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward
Island are pleased to release the 1995-96 Annual Report of the
Council of Maritime Premiers.  The report provides a summary of
all activities undertaken jointly by the three Maritime
governments under the auspices of the Council of Maritime

In releasing the annual report, the premiers noted a number of
significant accomplishments during the 1995-96 period.  The three
Maritime governments cooperated in the creation of the Atlantic
Investment Fund, the establishment of Atlantic Canada On-line as
well as the expansion of the Atlantic Procurement Agreement.  The
premiers are confident that these accomplishments will contribute
to the well-being of the citizens of the Maritime provinces.

The 1995-96 annual report also contains a synopsis of the major
achievements and ongoing initiatives undertaken by the three
governments in their pursuit of closer economic cooperation.  It
outlines key sectors that governments are committed to working
together, such as business development, education and training,
health, and labour.  Regional cooperation in these areas will
help create a climate in which citizens of the three provinces
can meet some of the daunting challenges heading into the 21st

The report provides an overview of the activities of the Council
Secretariat, the Atlantic Provinces Education Foundation, the
Maritime Geomatics Committee, the Maritime Municipal Training and
Development Board, the Maritime Provinces Harness Racing
Commission, the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission,
and the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian

The annual report will be tabled in the legislative assemblies of
the three provinces and copies have been distributed to each of
the three legislative libraries.  Copies can also be obtained by
communicating with the Council Secretariat at P.O. Box 2044,
Halifax, N.S.,B3J 2Z1 902-424-7590, Fax:  902-424-8976

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Contact: Rh‚al Poirier, 
         Regional Coordinator, 
         Council of Maritime Premiers,



Meeting today in St. John's, Premiers Frank McKenna, John Savage
and Patrick Binns ratified a renewed mandate for the Maritime
Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC).  

On the advice of their ministers responsible for post-secondary
education, and based on extended study and consultation on the
structure and role of the agency, the premiers affirmed their
intention to modify the mandate of the MPHEC to be responsive to
student and government needs.  The MPHEC was established in 1973
by parallel legislation in the three provinces.

The agreement tabled today will establish a new orientation which
is in keeping with the evolving priorities and needs of the
regional and provincial post-secondary systems.  Premier Savage
expressed pleasure that with the introduction of a rotating chair
and the development of a multi-year business plan, the MPHEC will
ensure representation of provincial views and increased
accountability. With service to students as its primary focus,
the MPHEC will emphasize its work on quality assurance,
information management, and other cooperative regional

Premier McKenna, chair of today's meeting, expressed his pleasure
that the valuable work of the commission will continue and that 
the partnership inherent in the structure of the MPHEC which has
characterized the regional post-secondary education system will
continue to serve the region. The premiers' decision is effective

Under the provision of today's agreement, the MPHEC chair will be
chosen from among the members and an executive head will be
appointed following a search and recruitment process. 


Contact:  Kim Thomson, 
          Council of Maritime Premiers



The Council of Maritime Premiers today discussed the problems
facing the Maritimes harness racing industry.  Some tracks have
closed and the future of others is uncertain as the industry
attempts to cope with the decline in live wagering, changing
demographics, competition for the gaming dollar, and the
inability of the industry to attract new patrons.

The premiers recognize that a long-term regional solution may
involve structural changes and a new approach to marketing and
promotion.  To that end, they have asked their ministers
responsible to examine alternative means to promote the industry. 
Ministers will hold discussions with the Atlantic Lottery
Corporation to determine if a business case can be made for the
involvement of the Corporation in marketing and promotion. 


Contact:  Kim Thomson,
          Council of Maritime Premiers



Atlantic premiers meeting today in St. John's, discussed the
importance of maintaining and nurturing the extensive trade
linkages which have historically existed between the Atlantic
provinces and the Northeastern United States.

The premiers announced their intention to lead a trade mission to
the Northeastern United States to further encourage the
development of these relationships.  They also agreed to seek the
participation of the Prime Minister in this initiative.


Contact:  Kim Thomson,
          Conference of Atlantic Premiers



Atlantic premiers meeting in St. John's today expressed concern
over the health and cost impacts of smoking and the appalling
damage being done to young Atlantic Canadians.

The premiers noted with interest the progress of class action
suits against tobacco companies in the United States. 

The premiers agreed to ask their attorney generals to explore the
feasibility of the Atlantic provinces initiating litigation
against the tobacco products' manufacturers for the health-related costs associated with smoking and provide a report to
them.  They will seek the support of their colleagues at the 1997
Annual Premiers Conference to join them in exploring such action.


Contact:  Kim Thomson,
          Conference of Atlantic Premiers,



Atlantic premiers, meeting today in St. John's, Newfoundland,
called upon the Shipbuilding Association of Canada to draft a
Canadian shipbuilding policy to promote this vital sector of the
Canadian economy.  The draft policy would be reviewed by premiers
and brought forward to the Annual Premiers' Conference in August

"Supportive policies in place in other shipbuilding nations
negatively impact on this region and the premiers strongly
encourage the development of policies to counteract this
inequity. Within Atlantic Canada, shipbuilding is part of our
heritage and continues to be an important part of our economy," 
said Premier McKenna. 

Further, due to the U.S. Merchant Marine Act of 1920, foreign
owned/built/flagged ships are prohibited from participating in US
domestic trade routes.  Basically, Canadian shipbuilders, other
than builders of fishing boats, have no access to the United
States market.  On the other hand, with the removal of tariffs
under the Free Trade Agreement, United States shipbuilders have
almost free access to the Canadian commercial market.  Long-term
industrial and trade policies are required to solve market access
and government subsidy problems.


Contact:  Kim Thomson,
          Conference of Atlantic Premiers



Atlantic premiers meeting today in St. John's, Newfoundland,
examined the impact of major demographic trends facing this
region on the delivery of public services.  Those trends include
a low or declining population growth, and an aging population. 
These trends may have a detrimental effect on federal fiscal
transfers given that population is a key element in determining
the level of transfers to provinces, and on health care costs. 

"We recognize that job creation is key to reducing out-migration
from Atlantic Canada and are committed to working with the
federal government during its review of regional development
policy in Canada," said Premier Brian Tobin.  "Atlantic premiers
encourage the strengthening of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities
Agency by expanding its role and presence in federal regional
economic development policy and by enabling it to build on the
economic strategies and priorities of Atlantic governments and
making national economic policy more sensitive to regional
interests and concerns."

The premiers agreed that immigration may be an effective tool to
counter skill shortages and increase the region's self-sufficiency.  The premiers confirmed their commitment to work
with the federal government to develop immigration policy and
practices which support the economic development and self-sufficiency objectives of the region. 

Given that more and more Atlantic Canadians are approaching their
senior years, the need for the federal government to provide
adequate cash transfers to provinces for health care and other
social services will become increasingly important.  Also
important will be the development of programs to encourage
healthy active living and support independent life styles for


Contact:   Kim Thomson
           Conference of Atlantic Premiers



At their meeting in St. John's today, the premiers of
Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick
and Nova Scotia discussed the future of regional development and
the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).   

"We stated our commitment to work with the federal government to
strengthen ACOA, for the benefit of Atlantic Canada," said
Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin.

The premiers agreed that ACOA's future direction should provide
the flexibility to build on provincial economic strategies and

"We must also emphasize that national economic policy must be
more sensitive to regional interests and concerns," said Prince
Edward Island Premier Patrick Binns.

The premiers also emphasized that the federal government's
commitment to regional development must be reflected in all areas
of federal spending if regional disparities are to be effectively

The premiers expect to meet with the new government as soon as
possible to emphasize the regional development needs of Atlantic


Contact:   Kim Thomson
           Conference of Atlantic Premiers



Meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland today, the premiers reviewed
progress on regional economic cooperation over the past five years. 
"We have accomplished a great deal," said New Brunswick Premier
Frank McKenna, "but there is more that we can do cooperatively to
create a climate for business expansions and start-ups, and improve
public services."

The premiers commissioned the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council
(APEC) to conduct a survey of regional business and organization
leaders to get their views on previous cooperative projects and
suggestions for where to focus their energies in the near future
for regional cooperation.  The premiers received the report today
from APEC and are pleased with the results.   

"Based on comments we see in the report, it is clear that the
private sector endorses regional cooperation," said Prince Edward
Island Premier Patrick Binns.   

The premiers expressed their appreciation to APEC for its
presentation and are pleased to make the report available to
interested parties.


Contact:   Kim Thomson
           Conference of Atlantic Premiers

sab                    May 26, 1997 - 7:00 p.m.