We asked Canada’s Prime Ministers this holiday season to answer the following question:
Looking ahead to 2021, what is the United States issue that is of paramount importance to your province?
British Columbia Premier John Horgan
“COVID-19 remains the top issue for both British Columbia and our southern neighbors in 2021. We must keep the border closed until both Canadians and Americans flatten the curve and bring transmission under control.”
Quebec Prime Minister Francois Legault
“It’s very important for me to see the new president … fight against this excessive protectionism (under Trump).”
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs
“With this extremely important trade relationship and with many communities along our long border with the United States that have close family ties with our southern neighbors, we look forward to working with them. The US is an important ally and our most important trading partner. We export significant quantities of softwood and other forestry products to the United States. In 2019, 88 percent of New Brunswick’s exports of $ 13.1 billion went to the United States. We are pleased that the new administration has shown its respect for independent agencies that ensure fair trade between US countries. We are confident that this means that tariffs on our softwood will be lifted. We look forward to working with the new administration to resolve this issue and strengthen the close partnership we have always shared. ”
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey
“The province’s primary goal for 2021 is to maintain a close trading relationship with the US. We are optimistic that the new agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico (CUSMA) will provide the clarity and security our companies need to further expand bilateral trade in goods. Services and investments across North America. More than ever, our companies need the confidence to act freely and openly, especially as our economy recovers from COVID-19. ”
Prime Minister of the Northwest Territories Caroline Cochrane
“A major issue for the Northwest Territories is the impact of climate change on our communities, our environment and our wellbeing. Canada’s north is warming three times faster than the global average. We share with our southern neighbor the need to build strong and resilient economies, especially given the current impact of the pandemic on our countries. As we plan our economic recovery, this is an opportunity for the transition to a strong and healthy economy that enables green resource development and investment, and strategically targets the minerals needed to support the green economy. It is part of the NWT’s mandate to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Canadian government is proposing legislation to meet the net zero emissions target by 2050. I hope the US will reconsider its decision and signing the International Paris Agreement to join the world’s leading politicians working to resolve the climate crisis. It is important for both countries to find ways to help each other rebuild and develop more resilient and sustainable economies. I wish them all the best for this pandemic and welcome future opportunities to support each other’s sustainable economic initiatives. “
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil
“The main problem with our southern neighbor is getting COVID-19 under control.”
Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq
“Nunavut has several important priorities with our neighbors for 2021. Given our enormous size, we hope that all Canadian jurisdictions can significantly reduce the number of COVID-19 cases as it has such an impact on travel restrictions in our area. Care issues, financial considerations, and everyone’s overall mental health. I hope for good developments and progress for all of us in the coming year. “
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe
“With more than half of our exports going south, trade with the United States is vital for Saskatchewan in 2021 and beyond. Saskatchewan will speak out against possible protectionist trade policies, including policies such as “Buy American”, country of origin labeling, and other initiatives that could affect our exports or our ability to advance our interests in the United States. Such policies negatively affect our cross-border supply chains endanger jobs in both the US and Canada and lead to higher prices for businesses and consumers on both sides of the border. We will encourage the US to reflect more fully on such guidelines, including Buy North American, and CUSMA will provide a powerful framework for these discussions.
Saskatchewan is also a strong supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline and construction on this important project must continue. We will continue to work towards this. This is critical for western Canadian oil producers as they provide direct access to Gulf Coast refineries and world markets, and ensure a more market-driven price for our resource. Keystone XL is good news for jobs and energy security in North America. With net zero emissions and electricity generated entirely from renewable energies, this is also a benefit for the environment. “
Yukon Premier Sandy Silver
“Alaska is Yukon’s western neighbor, and Yukon is Alaska’s road link to the continental US. Aside from reducing the spread of COVID-19 and managing our recovery when this pandemic subsides, the most important problem right now is adapting to the effects of a rapidly changing climate in the north. Climate change has affected our shared natural resources and infrastructure. There has long been a need to protect the Porcupine Caribou habitat in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the habitats of salmon and other species, and to respond to the impact of melting permafrost on our shared highway infrastructure, which is an important soil-transport route for People and goods traveling to and from Alaska. “
Editor’s Note: We have received no responses from the Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island premieres as of press time.
This article originally appeared in iPolitics Holiday Magazine, which was published earlier this month.