Little results from first ministers meeting, but at least nobody stormed out

09 Décembre, 2018, 04:13 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Put oil ‘crisis’ on first ministers agenda Alberta Saskatchewan premiers

Still Ford and Trudeau left the meetings accusing each other of changing course on emissions reduction goals and undermining each other's plans.

After 10 years of the Harper government ignoring these first ministers meetings, Trudeau was praised for resurrecting the idea when he became prime minister.

Federal officials have privately conceded that little headway is likely to be made on the official objective of the meeting: reducing interprovincial trade barriers.

But it's also nothing new from Quebec, and Notley is not the first Alberta premier unable to penetrate faulty logic from leaders of that province.

On that issue, Notley did find alignment with some premiers to at least push the issue onto the agenda.

"Today the premiers and I will talk about how we can best support Canadians working in sectors that are now facing significant challenges", Trudeau said, "whether they're oil and gas workers in Alberta hit hard by the price differential or GM workers in Oshawa".

Notley says the price gap is costing Canada more than $80 million per day and that the cuts are necessary as there is now 35 million barrels of oil sitting in storage and not enough capacity to transport it to market.

"We definitely raised the profile of the issue", Notley told reporters.

"We don't have the answer yet".

"I'm glad to sit down with you, Justin, and talk about things that matter to the people of Ontario", he said, as the two sat stiffly in arm chairs several feet apart.

However, that's not the major issue facing our federation, nor the most pressing.

But Trudeau was non-committal, saying only that he's looking forward to the Senate's work.

It appears Trudeau had managed to smooth things over somewhat with a pleasant dinner with the premiers at a Montreal restaurant Thursday night.

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Sparks did fly between Ford and Trudeau over the issue of carbon taxes with Trudeau reportedly telling the Ontario premier that if Ontario residents didn't pay more through a carbon tax then the oil sands would have to shut down.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to face criticism from premiers about the federal approach to pipelines, carbon taxes and oil prices - none of which are specifically on the agenda. "Where is it now?" he said.

Trudeau's move also pits East against West. Federal officials said there was nothing new in Ottawa's position that the Ford government isn't doing enough to fight climate change.

Ford and other premiers wanted to discuss the nationally-loathed, job killing, environmentally pointless carbon tax.

I was very clear.

In full-page ads purchased in Quebec media Friday, including the Montreal Gazette, the province says delays in the pipeline expansion are costing Canadians $80 million a day. Quebec is seeking $300 million to cover costs incurred.

"There is an opening", Legault said.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs wants to revive the Energy East pipeline, while Quebec Premier François Legault says there's no way Quebec will support such an idea.

The Alberta premier had to force the issue into the discussion along with Saskatchewan's Scott Moe.

Even on trade, which Ottawa had highlighted as the main focus of this year's meeting, there were few signs of progress.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is warning that nothing will be accomplished at today's first ministers' meeting if premiers insist on expanding the agenda.

But if the meeting was thin on results, it was equally light on theatrics.

The fall legislature session ended Thursday with talk of what could be the biggest change of them all. Earlier in the day, P.E.I.



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