Regional economic summit in Saskatchewan includes nine Idaho lawmakers, Farm Bureau official

The Pacific Northwest Economic Region's 22nd annual summit features four speakers from Idaho: Reps. George Eskridge, R-Sandpoint, John Rusche, D-Lewiston, Bert Stevenson, R-Rupert, and Idaho Farm Bureau Regional Manager Russ Hendricks.

Eskridge co-chairs the PNWER committee on Trends in Energy; Rusche co-chairs the Health Care committee; Stevenson co-chairs the Water Policy committee.

The meeting began Sunday and runs through Thursday in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. PNWER includes public officials and business representatives from Idaho, Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Montana, and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Also among those speaking to the group are Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer. Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.

The other six Idaho lawmakers authorized by their leadership to attend the meeting are Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, and Reps. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, Max Black, R-Boise, Jim Patrick R-Twin Falls, Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, and Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls.

A news release issues by PNWER Monday follows:

For Immediate Release:

July 16, 2012

Major economic Summit begins in Saskatchewan

Bi-national event draws in Pacific Northwest leaders in government, business, academia

SASKATOON – More than 500 government and business leaders from across the Pacific Northwest States and Western Canada are gathered in Saskatoon for the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) 22nd Annual Summit. The first full-day of the summit kicked off July 15, and continues through July 19.

This year’s annual summit, “The Power of Partnerships,” provides both the public and private sector a unique opportunity to engage in dialogue, seek solutions to regional policy issues, and network with regional counterparts.

“As Saskatchewan’s export-driven economy grows and expands, the PNWER region will continue to play a critical role in the ability to get our products – potash, crops, oil, manufactured goods – to the global marketplace,” Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said. “This province understands the importance of building strong partnerships and engaging our friends and neighbors. The PNWER annual summit is an ideal forum to build those relationships to the benefit of the collective economic region and everyone in this province.”

A diverse list of keynote speakers will include Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, Sun News Network TV Host Ezra Levant and Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer, among others.

Delegate tours will showcase Saskatchewan’s key industries and sectors, and working group sessions will cover a range of major regional policy issues. These issues include trade and economic development; the Beyond the Border and Regulatory Cooperation Council action plans; agriculture; and energy security.

“This region represents the 11th-largest economy in the world with a GDP of over $1 trillion,” Chief Executive Officer of PNWER Matt Morrison said. “Many of the state legislators and business leaders from the states have never been to Saskatchewan and we are excited to be able to introduce them to all that Saskatchewan has to offer.”

Formed in 1991, PNWER is a non-partisan, public-private partnership that includes the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories in Canada; and the states of Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana in the United States.

The partnership is committed to regional collaboration, enhanced competitiveness, economic growth, and the reduction of trade and regulatory barriers.

Saskatchewan joined PNWER in 2008. This is the first opportunity the province has had to host the annual summit.

For more information on the summit, including a full list of keynote speakers and events, visit

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Rep. Black

Why are legislators who will not be in office when for the 2013 session included in this group? Or is this just a freebie political trip compliments of Idaho taxpayers. Enough of this crap.

Rep. Black

Rep. Black is the current chair of the Business Committee, and is on State Affairs. He has a wealth of knowledge that he can share with the others at the conference. Rep. Stevenson (who is also retiring) is the current chair of Resources and Conservation, and serves on Ag Affairs and State Affairs. He is also a farmer and has a lot of knowledge of water issues. Saskatchewan is the big ag area of Canada- It makes a lot of sense for these guys to go. Just because they are leaving the Legislature doesn't mean they'll quit contributing.