POLITICS

Atlantic premiers say N.L. on its own in CETA battle with Ottawa

01/19/2015 06:39 EST | Updated 03/21/2015 05:59 EDT
The premiers of the three Maritime provinces say Newfoundland and Labrador is on its own, in a battle with the federal government over a fisheries deal related to the CETA deal.

Atlantic Canada's four premiers met in St. John's Monday, discussing the region's issues.

The unscheduled topic came up when Newfoundland and Labrador announced it would suspend its support for CETA, the free trade deal with the European Union, amid a disagreement with Ottawa on a provincial fisheries fund.

But if Premier Paul Davis expected unanimous support from the other Atlantic provinces, he didn't get it.

"From the briefings I had from Premier Davis I can say that, if I was in his shoes I would not be happy with the federal government either," said P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz.

However, the three premiers are in full support of the free trade deal with the EU.

"At the end of the day we are also primarily supposed to be representing our provinces, and that's what we'll be doing and we'll obviously be making decisions based on that," said New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant.

While neither Gallant, Ghiz or Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil have raised objections to N.L.'s fisheries fund, they had some concerns.

"If part of that fund is to be able to be used to modernize infrastructure, for example, well that has a direct effect on the fish plants across my region, across the entire of Atlantic Canada," said McNeil.

In sum, the rest of Atlantic Canada is worried the fisheries fund will give this province an unfair advantage.