Meet­ing re­veals di­vide Trudeau has fos­tered

Ottawa Sun - - COMMENT -

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wanted Fri­day’s first min­is­ters’ meet­ing to fo­cus pre­dom­i­nately on in­ter-pro­vin­cial trade. But Canada’s premiers had other ideas. It’s true trade mat­ters. Our patch­work in­ter­provin­cial trade sys­tem is ab­surd.

While we’re try­ing to sign deals with places like com­mu­nist China, we can’t even freely sell al­co­hol back and forth be­tween prov­inces.

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

On­tario Premier Doug Ford was right to threaten a walk­out if other items weren’t brought to the ta­ble.

Ford and other premiers wanted to dis­cuss the na­tion­ally loathed, job-killing, en­vi­ron­men­tally point­less car­bon tax. There’s stri­dent op­po­si­tion to the tax by On­tario, Saskatchewan, Man­i­toba and New Brunswick. Even Al­berta’s NDP gov­ern­ment and Premier Rachel Notley backed out of Trudeau’s na­tional car­bon tax plan, at least un­til new pipe­lines get built.

If Ja­son Ken­ney’s United Con­ser­va­tive Party in Al­berta wins power as ex­pected this spring, ex­pect Al­berta to more ve­he­mently op­pose Trudeau’s toxic car­bon tax.

Pro­vin­cial op­po­si­tion to the car­bon plan should have been front and cen­tre in dis­cus­sions be­tween this coun­try’s prime and first min­is­ters. Trudeau should have been mak­ing the case for his tax, though from our per­spec­tive it’s dif­fi­cult to de­fend a tax that raises the cost of liv­ing for av­er­age peo­ple, ex­empts ma­jor pol­luters and does lit­tle to noth­ing to help the en­vi­ron­ment.

In­stead, Trudeau tried to pit On­tario against Al­berta, and re­port­edly told Premier Ford that if On­tario res­i­dents don’t pay more through a car­bon tax then the oil­sands will have to shut down.

If he thinks that soap will float in the up­com­ing fed­eral elec­tion cam­paign, he ought to swing out west where Al­ber­tans are bear­ing the brunt of his failed pipe­line strat­egy and see how this lat­est tac­tic goes over.

The other big topic Trudeau avoided was his fail­ure to ad­e­quately help prov­inces or mi­grants who are cross­ing our bor­ders by the thou­sands.

Que­bec Premier François Le­gault de­manded Ot­tawa pay $300 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion to cover the cost of refugees ar­riv­ing in his prov­ince. The Lib­er­als mean­while seem more in­ter­ested in sign­ing the UN Global Mi­gra­tion Com­pact in Morocco rather than deal­ing with the border mess they cre­ated.

But duck­ing real problems has be­come a habit for our PM.

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