The Canadian Chamber of Commerce focused on business during the first day of its annual general meeting in Saint John, N.B. Featuring Alberta Premier Jason Kenney as a keynote speaker Saturday afternoon, it brought together representatives of the 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trades across the country to debate policy resolutions and to set the agenda for policy.

One notable topic discussed on Saturday was dealing with barriers to interprovincial trade. Kenney announced he's removing eight of the 14 interprovincial trade exceptions in the Canada Free Trade Agreement for Alberta – a change he says makes Alberta the most attractive province for trade within Canada.

“We're showing real leadership, and we hope that other provinces will follow suit,” says Kenney. “We really believe Canada should be a free-trade zone.”

Kenney was also slated to meet with New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs – noting he'll encourage his fellow Conservative Party member to follow suit.

“The Fathers of Confederation envisioned an economic union,” says Kenney. “That's what they have in Europe with 27 countries – why can't we have it in Canada with 10 provinces?”

Fredericton Chamber of Commerce president Krista Ross says the issues being discussed at the annual general meeting have repercussions New Brunswickers would see at a local level.

“The complicated tax system, the complicated regulatory system, those are challenges that exist for business from coast to coast to coast,” says Ross.

Meanwhile, more commerce-centric panels and workshops are scheduled for the conference, which continues until Monday.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jessica Ng