Saskatchewan premier fails to get what he asks of PM
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.