Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall offered his congratulations to Manitoba’s premier-elect and welcomed his campaign promise to join a western Canada trade pact. Wall made his comments Wednesday, one day after Brian Pallister and his Progressive Conservatives (PC) won a majority of Manitoba’s 57 seats in the legislature.
With the landslide victory, Pallister will become the province’s 22nd premier.
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The NDP’s Greg Selinger resigned as leader after consistently trailing in the polls since a controversial provincial sales tax increase in 2013.
“He was always an earnest partner in inter-provincial matters in the federation and in international matters, and so I want to wish him the best, as well as congratulate premier-designate Pallister,” Wall said.
As of Wednesday morning, Wall said he hoped to congratulate Manitoba’s new leader over the phone.
The Manitoba NDP never adopted the New West Partnership Trade Agreement, which was designed to encourage trade between provinces.
The deal was struck between B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan in 2010 to harmonize regulations and reduce barriers to trade.
“Manitoba is definitely a trading and an exporting province and we can do trade with others,” Pallister told reporters a day after his majority government victory.
Wall said he hadn’t received an official request to join the group, but hoped it would be beneficial to all parties.
“Hopefully it allows Saskatchewan companies to more effectively bid for projects in Manitoba and vice versa. It’s a more open relationship,” Wall said.
Topics like pipeline projects could also be well-received by a new Manitoba PC government, according to Charles Smith, an assistant professor in political studies at the University of Saskatchewan’s St. Thomas More College.
“There haven’t really been any conservatives elected recently in Canada except for Mr. Wall. I mean, it’s always good to have allies,” Smith said.