Pacific Northwest Economic Region

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The Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) includes British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. It is designed to improve cooperation and communication between member jurisdictions as well as improve communication between the public and private sector. The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) is a regional U.S.-Canadian forum dedicated to encouraging global economic competitiveness and preserving our world-class natural environment. PNWER is recognized by both the United States and Canada as the “model” for regional and bi-national cooperation because of its proven success.[citation needed] PNWER is a respected voice and resource for our[who?] region[citation needed], and provides the public and private sectors a cross-border forum for unfiltered dialogue that capitalizes upon the synergies between business leaders and elected officials who work to advance the region’s global competitiveness.[citation needed]

Former BC cabinet minister and legal scholar Andrew Petter describes the PNWER as one of North Americas most sophisticated examples of regionalist paradiplomacy.[1]

Program areas[edit]

  • Energy
  • Homeland Security
  • Pacific Northwest Innovation Network


The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region was established in 1991 by statute in the organization's original seven legislative jurisdictions – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska in the United States, and British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. The Yukon joined PNWER in 1994, Saskatchewan joined in 2008, and the Northwest Territories joined in 2009.

The proposal establishing PNWER passed with 701 out of 703 sitting legislators voting in its favor following a three-year process initiated by the Pacific NorthWest Legislative Leadership Forum (PNLLF) in 1988. Six working groups were established, including environmental technology, tourism, recycling, value-added timber, workforce training, and telecommunications; some of these merged into or were replaced in later years by new areas of concentration.

The original vision of establishing a collaborative region-wide organization to address common issues and interests was that of former State Sen. Alan Bluechel, WA. Bluechel grew up in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan and came to the Legislature with a keen sense of the bi-national region now encompassed by PNWER; he was aided in the pursuit of his vision by counterpart Jim Horseman, then Deputy Premier and Minister of Federal and Intergovernmental Affairs for Alberta. Bluechel served as PNWER's first president.

From the beginning, all state and provincial legislators were members of PNWER. The governors and premiers were added to the PNWER governance structure in 1993.

PNWER incorporated official private sector participation – including the non-elective public sector, and nonprofit organizations and NGOs in 1994; with that, a private sector council mirroring that of the organization's legislative delegate council was established and private and public sector co-chairs became part of the working group structure. Since then, funding for PNWER has been balanced by the public and private sector. The organization's current (2010) annual budget is U.S. $1.4 million, up from $900,000 in 2006, with approximately one third coming from state and provincial dues, one third from private sector sponsorship and dues, and one third from public and private grants.

The current president of PNWER is Alberta Minister Mel Knight.


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External links[edit]