Trudeau's meeting with premiers wraps up without much progress

Trudeau's meeting with premiers wraps up without much progress

"That's the trick isn't it?"

The Friday gathering was expected to be tense after Ontario Premier Doug Ford threatened not to show, though the premiers and the prime minister offered generally positive reviews at the day's close, describing the meetings as constructive and productive. "That's what we wanted and that's what we got".

Pallister's warning may well turn out to be a prediction.

They are all showing up to Fridays's meeting with a laundry list of issues they want addressed, but no agreement among themselves about which are most pressing or what should be done about them.

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. They want to push the issue to the forefront of the agenda.

Speaking at the Edmonton airport before flying to Quebec, she noted that forecasts for Canada's economic growth are already more muted because of the low price Alberta is getting for its oil.

The central message to her counterparts was to illuminate the economic damage wrought by low oil prices as a "slow-moving auto crash" neglected by political leaders for almost a decade, Notley said.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talk in Saskatoon. After the meeting, Legault said Trudeau was willing to discuss Quebec's request. "We have many subjects to discuss, and I want to leave the most time possible for discussion". "As of now, they are offering about half of the total".

Trudeau set an agenda for the meeting that initially gave premiers little time to raise their issues.

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"A fifth of our GDP depends upon internal trade and we're charging each other about a seven per cent tariff on everything we ship to each other".

Provincial and territorial leaders are meeting with the Prime Minister in Montreal on Friday for the First Ministers' Meeting and a discussion on the impact of struggling oil prices on the energy industry in Canada is part of the agenda.

Notley announced on Sunday that the province will curb oil production by 325,000 barrels per day starting in January to deal with the oil price differential. Now, he's facing a phalanx of conservative premiers who are putting up determined opposition to some of his signature policies, in particular his plan to impose a federal carbon tax next year.

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

Ford at least did not follow through on a threat to walk out of the meeting, which he had criticized for being too narrowly focused on Trudeau's priority - reducing interprovincial trade barriers - and not enough on the priorities of provinces and territories.

But he also said he didn't want to let the ideal be the enemy of the good, and any progress on internal trade should be treasured.

None of the premiers walked out of the meeting and discussion - even if sometimes testy - remained polite.

"I was very clear", Legault said.

"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.

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