Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are set to meet face-to-face Tuesday, for the first time since voters in that province threw out all of its Liberal MPs.
Kenney had made the case for months leading up to the federal election that the Liberals were — at their peril — ignoring the concerns of the West but the election result brought the reality of that anger to the fore.
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Now Kenney is seeking to channel it for good, bringing Trudeau a list of five demands he says must be met to get the Alberta and Canadian economies back up to speed.
They include changes to a federal payment program that tops up provincial revenues, amendments to environment regulations and a firm deadline to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion up and running with Indigenous groups quickly made partners.
Kenney’s meeting with Trudeau will cap off a two-day trip that included eight provincial cabinet ministers all meeting with their federal counterparts and industry officials.
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He says while federal-provincial relations have been tense, he wants to be able to find common ground with the Trudeau government.
Kenney pointed to last week’s meeting of provincial and territorial premiers, and the consensus they arrived at on issues including pipelines and federal funding, as proof there is room for Trudeau to harness existing goodwill.
“Peace in the land is breaking out on some of these issues, and if I was the federal government I would take that as a pretty strong prompt, a nudge, to deliver,” Kenney said Monday after a luncheon speech to the Canadian Club.
On Tuesday, in addition to requesting retroactive changes to the fiscal-stabilization program and changes to natural-resource legislation, Kenney will also press Trudeau on an expansion of tax instruments to help increase investment; and federal recognition for Alberta’s methane regulations.
What Albertans want isn’t unreasonable, nor does it hurt any other province, Kenney said.
“We are simply asking for a fair deal now,” he said.
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Kenney is nearly the last of the premiers to meet with Trudeau since the federal election.
Nearly all have come through Ottawa in the weeks since the Liberals were reduced to a minority government and Trudeau has spoken to most by telephone as well.
Along with deputy ministers and other senior officials, the ministers on the trip are:
- Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance
- Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks
- Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy
- Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration
- Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
- Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
- Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations
- Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services
— With files from Karen Bartko, Global News, and Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
© 2019 The Canadian Press