MLA Garth Rowswell looks forward to working with the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region

Alberta Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Doug Schweitzer, appointed Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright MLA, Garth Rowswell, as a delegate of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region at the end of November.

The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) was created in 1991 and allows Alberta to foster international and intergovernmental relationships.

The regional forum has only hosted a couple of meetings throughout the past few months, but Rowswell is eager to be on board.

“You don’t know what kind of new ideas I can bring back to the constituency for people to try here. I’m really looking forward to it,” said Rowswell.

“I’m meeting American politicians and private companies talking about their experience trying to work in both countries. American governors and senators were on the call making presentations about cross-border issues. Some states will be giving tours and talking about how legislation happens there.”

The foundation includes delegates from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Oil & natural gas, agriculture, forestry, tourism, high technology and mining are listed as the key sectors in the area.

From 2007-2011 Alberta’s domestic exports to PNWER States were 85 per cent oil and gas. Alberta’s merchandise exports to the United States have averaged over $72 billion throughout that five year span.

The partnership allows a trade corridor all the way from Alaska to Mexico.

If regulations change, a summit will be held in Montana this August. Regardless, they are already planning ahead as the 30th Annual event is set to be a virtual/in-person hybrid.

They have discussed normalizing border crossing, and getting air travel going again.

“We haven’t got into the meat of it, but are planning to meet in state capital so we’ll see if we can get across the border,” said Rowswell.

“I think vaccinations are the path to freedom – the more supply we can get of that–the better.”

As for the Alberta caucus, he said they’ve never divided it up into two before, with half the MLAs attending sessions one week, and the other half the next week. Alternating weeks has given him a different feel, because with bills being introduced when members aren’t even there, they really have to stay on top of policies.

“We’ve been passing so many bills, even passing more bills and worked more days in the Legislature than any other province. We’ve continued to progress with our plan and by the end of spring session, we should have 85 per cent of our commitments fulfilled.”

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