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Western Canada premiers talk infrastructure planning, high cost of living

David Eby hosting his peers at a Whistler summit
B.C. Premier David Eby speaks during a news conference in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, June 22, 2023. Infrastructure is taking centre stage as Canada’s western premiers meet in Whistler today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Western provinces and territories will consider working together on co-ordinating the planning and permitting of new infrastructure projects such as pipelines and telecommunications links in a move to gain efficiency.

British Columbia Premier David Eby says today’s western premiers’ conference centres on several key topics, including the need for more cohesive land planning to accommodate infrastructure networks that bisect provinces.

Eby, who is hosting the meeting in Whistler, B.C., says the current process involves each province working on their own project approval processes, leading to a patchwork of routes and structures that are “not aligned” through Western Canada.

He says western premiers agree that there is room for improvement for the federal government’s work with the provinces and territories on supporting such initiatives, which would benefit both the movement of people and goods that are essential to the Canadian economy.

Premiers from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories have joined Eby for the conference, set to end later today.

He says the premiers are also exploring topics such as the rising cost of living, an issue shared by all jurisdictions, although each province is looking at different programs to bring down costs.

The premiers are also expected to discuss the issues of public safety and the climate challenges all provinces and territories face.

Premiers at the event include Danielle Smith of Alberta, Scott Moe of Saskatchewan, Heather Stefanson of Manitoba, Ranj Pillai of Yukon, P.J. Akeeagok of Nunavut and Caroline Cochrane of the Northwest Territories.

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