Al­berta ex­pects sup­port at meet­ing

Pre­miers all in Mon­treal for tough meet­ing with PM

Medicine Hat News - - FRONT PAGE -

Premier Rachel Not­ley says she’ll have al­lies in the room to help push talks on the oil­price cri­sis at the up­com­ing first min­is­ters meet­ing.

“There is re­ally no prov­ince in the coun­try that doesn’t owe Al­berta to some de­gree for their schools, their hos­pi­tals, their roads. The fact of the mat­ter is Al­berta has to do well for Canada to do well,” Not­ley said in Ed­mon­ton Thurs­day be­fore leav­ing for the meet­ing in Mon­treal.

She noted that fore­casts for Canada’s eco­nomic growth are al­ready more muted be­cause of the low price Al­berta is get­ting for its oil in the United States and its in­abil­ity to move its prod­uct to ports for ship­ment over­seas.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is ex­pected to face crit­i­cism from pre­miers about the fed­eral ap­proach to pipe­lines, car­bon taxes, oil prices, en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ments and a planned Gen­eral Mo­tors plant clo­sure in On­tario — none of which is specif­i­cally on the agenda.

Not­ley also said she doesn’t want to spend time lis­ten­ing to what the fed­eral gov­ern­ment says it is al­ready do­ing to try to ad­dress Al­berta’s con­cerns.

“It just doesn’t make sense ... talk­ing about things that have al­ready hap­pened,” she said. “We don’t need fed­eral min­is­ters to ex­plain to us what they’ve al­ready done. We’re all ca­pa­ble of read­ing their press re­leases.”

In On­tario, Doug Ford’s of­fice said the On­tario premier is pre­pared to walk away from the meet­ing Fri­day if it does not in­clude spe­cific dis­cus­sions on the fed­eral car­bon tax. Ford was set to meet with Trudeau in Mon­treal on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

Sources fa­mil­iar with the dis­pute said Ford and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe have not been sat­is­fied by the fed­eral re­sponse that the first min­is­ters meet­ing agenda al­ready in­cludes a dis­cus­sion on eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness — a broad topic that Ot­tawa says will al­low pre­miers to raise all the is­sues they please.

On­tario gov­ern­ment house leader Todd Smith said the agenda doesn’t deal with the con­cerns of the prov­inces, which in­clude the car­bon tax, the GM plant and the oil-price cri­sis.

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

Asked by re­porters in Mon­treal about the pre­miers’ dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the agenda, Trudeau re­fused to en­gage with the ques­tion di­rectly.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to a pro­duc­tive dis­cus­sion. I have no il­lu­sions that we’re go­ing to agree on ev­ery­thing,” he said.

Justin Trudeau

Rachel Not­ley

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