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CanadaStage set for fractious first ministers' meet

11:30  07 december  2018
11:30  07 december  2018 Source:   msn.com

'Expect a little dustup': Trudeau, premiers brace for fractious first ministers meeting

'Expect a little dustup': Trudeau, premiers brace for fractious first ministers meeting Senior officials from multiple provinces are predicting a tense and difficult first ministers meeting when premiers gather to discuss the economy and trade with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal on Friday. This Week's Circulars require(["c.deferred"], function () { require({ js: '//api.circularhub.com/msn/module.loader.min.js' }); }); "You can expect a little dustup. There's no doubt about that," said one provincial source who spoke to CBC News on condition they not be named. The tensions became obvious during a conference call between the premiers on Tuesday afternoon.

Friday's first minister meeting will be the first attended by Higgs and Quebec Premier François Legault. Higgs told CBC today that he's confident the While the formal agenda is set for Friday, the premiers and the prime minister will gather on Thursday night for a private working dinner at a Greek

The meeting sets the stage for what could be a historic detente between Washington and Pyongyang, who have The talks, scheduled for Tuesday, will be the first between a US and North Korean leader, and follow Mr Kim met Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien Loong shortly after landing and said

MONTREAL - By the time he wraps up his day-long talk fest with provincial and territorial leaders, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may well rue the day he promised to hold first ministers' meetings annually.

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Friday's closed-door gathering is Trudeau's fourth summit with premiers and promises to be the most turbulent — and likely the least productive.

Gone are the days when he was surrounded by friendly provincial Liberal allies. Now, he's facing a phalanx of conservative premiers who are putting up determined opposition to some of his signature policies, in particular his plan to impose a federal carbon tax next year.

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Environment ministers meet in Toronto TORONTO - The federal environment minister met with her Ontario counterpart in Toronto on Thursday, where they discussed the province's new plan to address climate change. The Progressive Conservative government's plan, unveiled last week, replaces the cap-and-trade system brought in by the previous Liberal regime and does not put a price on carbon. The new plan will use taxpayer dollars to spur private investment in clean technologies and create performance standards for large emitters. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has urged Ontario to enact a carbon pricing plan, a federal requirement that Premier Doug Ford has consistently pushed back on.

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And one of them — Ontario Premier Doug Ford — has vowed to ensure Trudeau's Liberals are defeated in next fall's federal election. Federal officials privately believe that will include efforts to derail Friday's meeting, potentially even staging a dramatic walkout — a scenario Ford and his aides did not rule out Thursday.

But it's not just conservative premiers who are bound to cause headaches for the prime minister. He's got Liberal and New Democrat premiers who also have bones to pick with the federal government.

They are all showing up to Fridays's meeting with a laundry list of issues they want addressed, but no agreement among themselves about which are most pressing or what should be done about them.

For instance, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs wants to revive a proposal for an Energy East pipeline. Quebec's Francois Legault says there's no way Quebecers will ever approve a pipeline through their province.

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Alberta's NDP premier, Rachel Notley, is furiously demanding federal action to help her province get its oil to tidewater for shipment to overseas markets, rather than being captive to the discount price paid by the United States.

She and Saskatchewan's Scott Moe want the oil price crisis to top the agenda for Friday's meeting. They also want Trudeau to scrap Bill C-69, legislation to beef up environmental assessments of energy projects.

Their concern that C-69 will scare off investors in things such as pipeline projects is shared by Newfoundland and Labrador's Dwight Ball and Nova Scotia's Stephen McNeil, both Liberals.

But then there's British Columbia's NDP Premier, John Horgan, who has gone to court to stop the one pipeline project Trudeau's government has approved — the Trans Mountain expansion.

Stage set for fractious first ministers' meet© Provided by thecanadianpress.com Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media at a press conference Thursday, December 6, 2018 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Four conservative premiers — Ford, Moe, Higgs and Manitoba's Brian Pallister — have also gone to court but, in their case, it's to stop what they refer to as Trudeau's "job-killing carbon tax." They want to push the issue to the forefront of the agenda.

Trudeau can expect to get some back up on that front from Horgan and Legault, whose provinces were the first to impose carbon regimes and, as federal officials like to point out, currently enjoy the most robust economies in the country.

Environmentalists, meanwhile, are planning to gather outside the hotel where the first ministers are meeting to urge the leaders to do more to combat climate change.

Amid the myriad issues premiers want to discuss and their conflicting views on them, the original objective Trudeau set for the meeting — reducing interprovincial trade barriers — is bound to get short shrift.

Ontario joins calls for equalization overhaul.
OTTAWA - For the first time in a decade Ontario will not receive an equalization transfer from Ottawa, prompting the province's finance minister to join calls for the federal government to review how the program is set up. Canada's finance ministers are in Ottawa for the second of their two yearly meetings, which started with a working dinner at an Ottawa hotel Sunday night. Just ahead of that dinner, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau released publicly the amount of money Ottawa will transfer to the provinces and territories in 2019-20, including nearly $20 billion in equalization.

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