Premiers meet outside Toronto, try to find consensus on dealing with Ottawa

Premier Scott Moe
			By Lisa Schick  CJME	
		Moe hoping for consensus at Council of the Federation meeting				Dec 01 2019

Premier Scott Moe By Lisa Schick CJME Moe hoping for consensus at Council of the Federation meeting Dec 01 2019

"(The goal is) to ensure that that program can do what it was created to do to be a reactive program for all provinces - not just today but into the future", Moe said.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford kicked off the premiers' meeting just outside Toronto this morning by donning a Winnipeg Blue Bombers jersey.

The program, which is supposed to give provinces a buffer from federal transfers when their revenue tanks, is capped at $60 per capita - a three-decade-old limit the Alberta government says should end. I'm going to preclude what British Columbia is going to say (and) what Quebec is going to say.

The premiers also called on Canada to develop its natural resources "in a responsible manner" in order to boost the country's economic competitiveness, and asked that development projects be subject to a "one project, one assessment" policy, under which all resource development falling under provincial or territorial jurisdiction would be exempt from mandatory federal impact assessment - a direct challenge to the controversial federal bill C-69, which Kenney and Moe have both said will hinder resource development.

"What we're after here is a sustained relationship that can sustain healthcare", said Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, referring to his fellow premiers as a "coalition". He said whatever comes out of the meeting is indicative of what the federal government should be paying attention to, and it should be taken as sound advice.

Alberta has received money through the fiscal stabilization program - but the problem raised by critics is, it hasn't received enough.

They also say the federal government should recognize the right of any province to opt out of its proposed pharmacare program with full compensation.

The potential plan - which Kenney said would not be implemented before passing a provincial referendum - could be worth $45 billion for the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo). "The provinces may have disagreements, but there is more common ground to be had than not".

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They could get back on track quickly because they are assured of facing a quality opponent in the tournament's consolation game. The loss ended a five-game winning streak to open the year for the Vols, though there remain plenty more games to be played.

"Showing that they understand the adversity Albertans are going through and focus on other parts of the country like Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador was s a tremendous moment of solidarity and on behalf of the people of Saskatchewan, I am appreciative of the efforts being made here today". Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba have all raised legal objections to the federal carbon price while others have accepted it or launched their own programs.

"It's here and we know it's staying and it doesn't do any good to fight something that's already there and in place", he said.

In turn, Quebec Premier Francois Legault suggested he spend money on French-language services or retaining National Hockey League players.

But Ford said on Sunday he was confident that the prime ministers could find some areas of consensus.

"But we want to send the message around the world that we're a united Canada, we're stronger together and we'll get over these bumps".

Higgs said though priorities differ, the meeting was initiated by a need for national unity.

- Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press with files from Stephanie Taylor, Shawn Jeffords and Terry Pedwell.

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