18th Annual Premiers Conference, Canada-U.S. Relations, Opening Statement by Premier Lougheed (18-19 August 1977)

Document Information

Date: 1977-08-18
By: Peter Lougheed (Alberta)
Citation: 18th Annual Premiers Conference, Canada-U.S. Relations, Opening Statement by Premier Lougheed, Doc 850-8/002 (St. Andrews: 18-19 August 1977).
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).

Canada-U.S. Relations
Qpening Statement by Premier
St. Andrews, N.B.
August 18-19, 1977

AUGUST 18 and 19, 1977
While it is generally accepted that the development of foreign policy
and the conduct of international relations is the responsibility of
the federal government, it must also be recognized that the provinces
have legitimate concerns in certain areas of foreign policy and
conduct as well. These concerns arise from a number of factors,
including provincial ownership of natural resources, and the
exercising of provincial responsibilities required in developing
their economies.
The provincial role in certain aspects of foreign policy has been
recognized by the federal government. The Department of External
Affairs recently has created a federal~provincial coordination
division, and has encouraged the flow of information from the
Canadian Mission to the European Communities in Brussels, and
from the Canadian Embassy in Washington to the provincial capitals.
Moreover, the Canadian Senate, in a recent report on Canada United
States relations, supported a more prominent provincial role in the
relations between our two countries. The Standing Senate Committee
on Foreign Affairs, in discussing Canada U.S. relations, noted:
There needs to be…a new awareness at the federal
level that a national foreign policy properly includes
both federal and provincial activities, not merely
federal matters. There needs to be more openness by
federal departments and agencies regarding the overall
direction of Canadian policy towards the U.S. and a‘
greater degree of solicitation by Ottawa of provincial

_ 2 _
The United States and Canada currently are conducting about $51 billion
of mutual trade each year. The United States has invested about
$35 billion in Canada and Canada about $5 billion in the United States.
Canada’s exports to the U.S. of approximately $25.8 billion in l976
represented 68% of Canada’s total exports. Our total imports from
the U.S. of $25.7 billion accounted for 69% of all Canadian imports.
These figures clearly indicate the importance to Canada of trade
with the United States. Bilateral trade between our two countries
is also significant to the United States. Last year the value of
American exports to Canada was considerably more than the combined
value of exports to their next three most important customers —
Japan, Germany and Mexico.
Canada is one of the largest trading nations in the world despite
our small population. The above figures indicate clearly that
our economic well being is dependent to a great extent on our
ability to carry on a healthy two~way trade relationship with
our American neighbor. While the last thirty years have witnessed
a significant increase in the number and value of Canadian processed
goods exported to the United States, Canada still suffers an un-
favourable trade balance of processed products, and the gap is
In diversifying provincial economies, it is necessary to establish
world scale industries in order to be competitive. In many instances,
because of our limited domestic market and the high transportation
cost of serving this domestic market, it is necessary to penetrate
international markets in order to be successful. The United States
is one of the key markets where this can be accomplished. The
potential of increased sales to the United States was noted by the
Western Premiers at our meeting on May 5 and 6, 1977 and in our joint
brief on tariff and non—tariff barriers recently submitted to the
federal government. This, however, requires a concerted cooperative
effort on behalf of the federal and provincial governments. Neither

_ 3 _
jurisdiction can adequately market regional products without the
cooperation of the other. It is only through such joint efforts
that all regions in Canada can realize their economic potential.
The Canadian American relationship, however, involves much more than
trade. It is a complex relationship which includes social and
cultural exchanges, joint business ventures, investment, complementary
environmental programs, reciprocal administrative and legislative
arrangements, and many other interactions. Frequently these
numerous interactions are mutually beneficial but, on occasion,
problems may emerge.
Possibly the most important unresolved issue between Canada and
the United States is the fishing and boundary waters dispute.
This dispute concerns threecoasts, thousands of jobs, and billions
of dollars. It involves thousands of square miles where fishing
and mineral rights are in question, and it has the potential to
affect the whole relationship between our two countries. The
provinces, which by territorial extension are directly affected
by the dispute, have a direct interest in its resolution.
Another area in which mutual disagreements have arisen from time to
time, is in the area of the environment. In many instances the
preservation of the environment and economic activity are not
mutually supporting. Occasionally adverse environmental or
economic effects are transposed across the international border.
Because provinces can be adversely affected by transboundary
policies or projects, any resolution of these disagreements should
involve provinces as well as the federal government.
Other current differences directly affecting the provinces as well
as the overall Canada—U.S. relationship, are the United States
convention tax laws which have cut deeply into the tourist dollars

_ 4 _
from the U.S., the extraterritoriality aspects of some U.S. legis~
lation, and the question of the Canadian government’s advocacy
of increased tolls on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Again, because
these issues affect provincial decision—making, the provinces must
be given the opportunity to provide input into the process of
settling these differences.
The relations between Canada and the United States have been a model
for other nations in their bilateral arrangements with other countries.
It is encouraging to note that today, there appears to be increased
cooperation and a concerted effort toward resolving differences
between the two countries. Examples of issues which were amicably
resolved are: the joint efforts to clean up the Great Lakes and
the increased exports of natural gas to the United States during
the unusually severe winter of 1977.
There are several ways in which the provinces can contribute to the
enrichment of the relationship between Canada and the United States.
Increased communication between provinces and states can be accomplished
by engaging in regional hransboundary conferences such as the Annual
Conference of Eastern Premiers and New England Governors, and by
reciprocal visits of elected state and provincial representatives.
Continuous and frequent discussions and consultations with the federal
government and with our American neighbors regarding potential trans-
border problems are imperative.
As a result of the increasing transborder contacts between Canadians
and Americans, increased efforts to achieve intergovernmental coordi-
nation of Canadian policies towards the United States is required.
Programs and policies having international implications reflect
provincial priorities and needs as well as those of the federal
government. It is, therefore, important in dealing with Canada-
United States issues affecting provinces, that provinces have an
opportunity to participate meaningfully in the resolution of
these matters.

Leave a Reply