Trudeau as dis­mis­sive of prov­inces as PET was

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - Brian LIL­LEY

TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acted just like his daddy Fri­day, in all the wrong ways.

Trudeau was host­ing a First Min­is­ters meet­ing in Mon­treal and at once was both dis­mis­sive of the prov­inces and premiers, as his fa­ther had been, and even tried to pit East against West.

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

In­stead of the prime minister sit­ting around the ta­ble and dis­cussing is­sues with the premiers, the plan was to have the premiers lis­ten as Trudeau’s min­is­ters gave glo­ri­fied Ted Talks on how great the gov­ern­ment was.

That didn’t sit well and premiers de­manded is­sues, such as the oil cri­sis, the auto sec­tor, the lack of cannabis sup­ply and the cost of il­le­gal border crossers all be dis­cussed.

Trudeau promised his min­is­ters would only give pre­sen­ta­tion for a few min­utes be­fore dis­cus­sions be­gan. That didn’t hap­pen.

At one point New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs had to in­ter­rupt Fi­nance Minister Bill Morneau.

“In the spirit of this be­ing a di­a­logue, not a lec­ture — let’s have ques­tions,” a source in the room quoted Higgs as say­ing.

Leav­ing for lunch, a frus­trated

Rachel Notley said “We’ve started” when I asked her if they had talked about oil. The Al­berta premier had to force the is­sue into the dis­cus­sion along with Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe. He was ob­vi­ously frus­trated dur­ing the break. This was far from a show­down just be­tween Trudeau and On­tario’s Doug Ford as the PMO would want to de­scribe it, this was a bunch of premiers frus­trated with be­ing lec­tured to by the lack­eys of an ar­ro­gant and out-of-touch PM.

First Min­is­ters meet­ings are sup­posed to be about first min­is­ters, the premiers and the PM, not cab­i­net min­is­ters giv­ing Ted Talks or as one pro­vin­cial staffer de­scribed Morneau’s pre­sen­ta­tion, a gov­ern­ment in­fomer­cial.

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

Trudeau’s en­vi­ron­ment minister, Catherine Mckenna, who was sit­ting next to Trudeau as he said this was asked by re­porters six sep­a­rate times if this had hap­pened and Mckenna re­fused to an­swer. Ford was clear.

“All of a sud­den, we had a lit­tle sur­prise in the room, the goal posts got changed,” Ford said.

He said On­tario is al­ready on its way to meet­ing the agreed to car­bon diox­ide emis­sions re­duc­tion of 30% be­low 2005 lev­els, the prov­ince al­ready re­duc­ing emis­sions by 22%.

On­tario’s just re­leased en­vi­ron­men­tal plan says it can meet the tar­gets by 2030 with­out a car­bon tax.

Trudeau, though, now says that isn’t good enough. The PM is adamant that On­tario, and all prov­inces, have a car­bon tax.

“He said some prov­inces are go­ing to have to re­duce it more be­cause other prov­inces like Al­berta won’t be able to hit it,” Ford told re­porters re­gard­ing the 2030 tar­gets.

Ford said chang­ing the rules is both un­fair and causes un­cer­tainty, some­thing that is bad for busi­ness.

“This just makes it more dif­fi­cult,” Ford said of at­tract­ing new busi­ness in­vest­ment to re­place jobs like the ones re­cently lost at Gen­eral Mo­tors.

Trudeau’s move also pits East against West. Do more or watch the oil­sands shut down.

The prime minister knows that he doesn’t stand to lose any seats in Que­bec with his en­vi­ron­men­tal agenda and will lose the three seats he has in Al­berta re­gard­less. Di­vid­ing the coun­try so he can play to green vot­ers in his home prov­ince and in the Van­cou­ver area may be smart pol­i­tics but it will be dis­as­trous for the econ­omy. Then again, he wouldn’t be the first politi­cian, or the first Trudeau, to di­vide the coun­try and kill the econ­omy to keep po­lit­i­cal power.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ad­dresses the open­ing of the First Min­is­ters meet­ing in Mon­treal yesterday.



mckenna Re­mained mum

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