'Have some courage': Premiers wrestle with interprovincial trade decisions

Day two of the Council of the Federation talks in Whitehorse sees the provincial and territorial leaders wrestle with one of the most perennially dysfunctional aspects of Canada’s economy: how hard it is to do business across provincial borders.

An agreement on internal trade was worked out by first ministers over two decades ago, but it’s proven inadequate to streamline a host of jurisdictional snags that restrict growth at a time when some regions really need a boost.

“We should have a free-trade zone in Canada, between us,” British Columbia Premier Christy Clark told reporters on her way into the talks Thursday. “It makes no sense that you can get B.C. wine more easily in China than you can in Ontario.”

“I think we’re close,” she said, adding that although it’s within spitting distance, “the devil’s always in the details on these things.”

Several other premiers…

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