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Look East young man

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Interesting column in Wednesday's Regina Leader-Post

The newspaper's political columnist Murray Mandryk writes Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall should look east to Manitoba than west to Alberta to guide his thinking.

Mandryk quotes political scientist Ken Rasmussen, the associate dean and professor at the University of Regina:

'And one lesson from Manitoba that Saskatchewan would be well served to learn is what the political scientist described in an academic paper as (former Manitoba NDP premier Ed) Schreyer's more "Keynesian economic policy of careful pump priming by the provincial government" as a means of "increasing private investment as well as employment."

"If he is looking at a successful model, it's (former Manitoba Progressive Conservative premier) Gary Filmon -- not (former Alberta PC premier) Ralph Klein -- as to how to govern a Prairie province," Rasmussen said.

There is a tendency of both Reginans and Winnipeggers to think neither rival city offers much, Rasmussen explained. And both provinces tend to look West to Alberta and B.C.

But Rasmussen argued that Manitoba's similarities -- from its population to its demographic makeup of aboriginal and elderly, its transformation from a more rural to a more urban province, its political tradition of having two strong parties that requires more policy compromise -- has always meant that Saskatchewan could learn more from Manitoba.

And nowhere is that more relevant than on economic issues where successive Manitoba NDP and PC governments have created a more diversified economy through business tax, hiring and immigration incentives.'

Tuesday's meeting in Yorkton was the first time the Manitoba and Saskatchewan cabinets sat down together. They plan to meet again next year in Brandon.

Tuesday's agenda included boosting electrical power transmission between the two provinces, streamlining transportation regulations, trade, American country-of-origin labelling laws and aboriginal education.

In a communiqué, the two provinces also repeated their opposition to Ottawa's push to harmonize the GST and provincial sales tax.

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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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