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Strong Differences

Permier Lord's photo

Premier Doer's photo

T.H. Bernard Lord

      ...Premier of New Brunswick, Canada. T.H. Mr. Lord has led the Progressive Conservative Party (PCP) of New Brunswick since 1997 and has been premier of this Atlantic province since 1999.

T.H. Gary Doer

      ...Premier of Manitoba, Canada. T.H. Mr. Doer has led the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Manitoba since 1988 and has been premier of this prairie province since 1999.

With distinctly different political affiliations and geographic realities within Canada, these two Provincial Premiers are regularly working together to create new solutions to pressing needs at home. They are also nurturing enhanced relationships with other communities and countries, particularly the United States.

Excerpts3:49 secs

Creating solutions for a better future holds a lot more promise than rehashing old political battles according to two visionary Canadian provincial premiers. Manitoba’s Premier Gary Doer (National Democratic Party) and New Brunswick’s Premier Bernard Lord (Progressive Conservative Party) have created a unique Manitoba-New Brunswick Cooperation Corridor. They are actively bridging their very real differences in order to meet citizens’ needs. Their prescription? Narrow disagreements down to a place where there can be action for the future.

Two thousand miles separate these Prairie and Atlantic Canadian provinces. The Premiers belong to two distinctively different political parties. So what’s up? Premiers Lord and Doer understand that people want solutions, not politics-as-usual, that citizens are eager for energetic action on their behalf instead of endless ideological wrangling. So the Premiers are hard at work crafting a new approach which is allowing them to solve problems.

Simply put, both Premiers understand that more can be accomplished when they work together. While each is still part of the traditional Council of Atlantic Premiers and Council of Western Premiers, the Manitoba-New Brunswick Cooperation Corridor is exploring new possibilities. The Premiers’ similarities transcend their differences both in political affiliation and in geography. Both cope with the present with an eye on the future. Both are practical. Both know that there are no quick fixes -- crafting solutions requires will, time and commitment. Both Premiers maintain balanced budgets and both have cut taxes. And both have made record investments in education and universal health care.

Health care was the origin of this perhaps surprising union -- Premiers Doer and Lord came together at a Premiers’ meeting, resisted fighting old ideological battles in order to put forward a patient care plan to which everybody could sign on. Why? They both see the importance of universal health care and the tremendous advantage of having the cost of health care below 10% of the GDP.

Education is another good example of what unites them. The Premiers know that, regardless of party or geography, most families want the same things for their kids. Strong support of public education matters. If it is good Conservative policy to provide skills to the business community, it is equally good New Democratic policy because it provides more inclusiveness in the education program. And both Premiers are keenly aware of how vital a rich mix of languages and ready access to learning those languages are to ensuring that Canadians have a realistic chance to be citizens of the world.

Already Premiers Doer and Lord are seeing returns on their new approach. Their joint international trade missions have yielded immediate benefits. And there’s more. This innovative internal Canadian example mirrors larger similarities between Canada and the United States on challenges for the economy, health, education and the environment. Each can learn from the other. And perhaps most important of all, Premiers Lord’s and Doer’s actions’ hold great promise for strengthening the democratic model over the long haul.

[This Program was recorded February 4, 2004, in Atlanta, Georgia, US.]

Conversation 1

Premiers Lord and Doer each describe their new approach to political and personal cooperation for Paula Gordon and Bill Russell.

Conversation 2

Premier Doer focuses on the future, a perspective both Premiers believe the public now demands. Premier Lord concurs and expands on the power of working collaboratively across political and geographic differences.  Both reiterate the similarity of the challenges we all face, with examples including health, education and living within our means.  They both affirm that the public votes for people who solve problems. They compare the challenges facing Canada and the United States and the power of learning from each other.

Conversation 3

Being proud of where one lives must include being respectful of other places and ways of doing things, Premier Doer says, using Winnipeg and New Brunswick as examples. Premier Lord expands on the importance of uniting pride and respect. The vital importance of language is considered by both Premiers. NAFTA enters the conversation. Both Premiers talk about their deep commitment to and investment in education and training.

Conversation 4

Trade missions like the one that brought Premiers Doer and Lord to Georgia underscore the ways Canada and the United States are interdependent. They expand. Water and reliable affordable energy will play major roles in defining economies and quality of life throughout the world, both Premiers say, drawing examples from their different perspectives. The notably different population size in the United States and Canada and their quite different political structures contribute significantly to the ways government works in each, the Premiers explain. We must look beyond the next election cycle to the next generation, they say.

Conversation 5

There are great challenges to engaging people in democracy, both premiers agree. Each describes their Province’s efforts to do so more effectively, to develop more genuine two-way communication and to address deep concerns about voter turnout and larger involvement in order to nurture democracy. Both Premiers consider what is required for effective government. Each Premier describes his own political party.

Conversation 6

Both Premiers describe positive aspects of NAFTA and both underscore the importance of the rule of law in international trade relations. Each speaks to how they have come to work closely together over a broad range of issues, moving beyond old differences to find new ways to solve problems and generate constructive change. The “last word” goes to Wayne Gretzky.


The Consulate of Canada located in Atlanta ably serves the SouthEastern United States and much of the Caribbean. Their influence and importance in Atlanta is singular. We particularly thank Consul General Malcolm McKechnie and Consul Denis Langlois for their unflagging efforts to expand our horizons with wonderful Guests, notably Premiers Doer and Lord.

Both Premiers’ staffs have been very helpful and we are grateful.

Related Links:
There is more information on New Brunswick’s investment and trade initiatives at their website.
For further information from the province of Manitoba, please visit their website
The Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta’s website offers a variety of useful facts, opportunities and connections.

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