Saskatchew­an premier fails to get what he asks of PM

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD - ALEX BOUTILIER

OT­TAWA — Saskatchew­an Premier Scott Moe left Ot­tawa empty-handed Tues­day after his first meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau after the Oc­to­ber fed­eral elec­tion.

Moe, one of the loud­est voices of Western prov­inces’ frus­tra­tion with Trudeau’s Lib­er­als, wanted changes to the fed­eral equal­iza­tion sys­tem. He wanted a “new deal with Canada” for his prov­ince after the Oct. 21 fed­eral elec­tion, which saw Con­ser­va­tive MPs win all 14 of Saskatchew­an’s fed­eral rid­ings.

He told re­porters out­side the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice he was “dis­ap­pointed” with the meet­ing’s re­sults.

He and Al­berta Premier Ja­son Ken­ney have both been de­mand­ing equal­iza­tion re­form and the re­peal of re­cent Lib­eral en­vi­ron­men­tal leg­is­la­tion.

Like Ken­ney, Moe sug­gested he would turn his ef­forts to find­ing ways to make Saskatchew­an more in­de­pen­dent —stop­ping short of en­dors­ing Western sep­a­ra­tion rhetoric.

“We are go­ing to start to broaden our am­bi­tions, if you will, with re­spect to Saskatchew­an’s out­reach to our trad­ing part­ners around the world,” Moe said.

But a Lib­eral source with di­rect knowl­edge of the meet­ing be­tween Trudeau and Moe said the prime min­is­ter was will­ing to lis­ten to spe­cific pro­pos­als on equal­iza­tion — if Moe gets buyin from his 12 fel­low pre­miers.

“The prime min­is­ter said ‘look, if you have a spe­cific proposal as chair of the Coun­cil of the Fed­er­a­tion, and you have buy-in from all the prov­inces on chang­ing the for­mula that (for­mer prime min­is­ter Stephen) Harper and Ken­ney set … I’m open to hear­ing pro­pos­als and ideas,’” the source said.

It’s Moe’s year to chair the Coun­cil of the Fed­er­a­tion, the an­nual meet­ing of pro­vin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial lead­ers. While the Saskatchew­an premier has al­lies op­pos­ing the fed­eral car­bon price, in­clud­ing On­tario Premier Doug Ford, he may find his pro­pos­als on equal­iza­tion a tougher sell at that ta­ble.

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