NEWS
11/02/2015 11:53 EST | Updated 11/02/2016 01:12 EDT

Brew-ha-ha: Beer latest item in western provinces' trade dispute

WINNIPEG — The Saskatchewan government says Manitoba long ago should have joined a regional trade deal that is now leading to conflict over everything from buildings to beer.

Saskatchewan Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison says Manitoba has been repeatedly invited to become a member of the New West Partnership, but has chosen not to.

Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia established the partnership in 2010 in an effort to reduce trade, labour and investment barriers.

The governments have started signalling preferential treatment for companies based in the three provinces — something Manitoba raised concerns about last week.

Saskatchewan has said some Crown corporation contracts will be restricted to companies in the three partnership provinces.

Alberta announced last week it will institute lower price markups on craft beer produced in the partnership provinces.

The Manitoba government says it is choosing to focus on renewal of the national Agreement on Internal Trade, which is being negotiated for next spring.

The Canadian Press