If Justin Trudeau had his way, Friday’s meeting with the premier would more closely resemble a lecture than a discussion.
The leaked agenda for the meeting not only didn’t include any full discussion of oil and gas it amounted to Trudeau’s minister’s giving Ted Talks as the leaders of Canada’s provinces and territories listened.
Meeting of equals?
Yet that is what it should be. The prime minister leads Canada, the premiers lead their respective provinces.
Their jobs are similar even if premiers are often considered junior to the PM.
Yet the idea of a First Ministers Meeting is that they are all first ministers, equals.
Not in Trudeau’s eyes.
Justin is sounding an awful lot like his late father Pierre with his dismissive tone towards the premiers.
As the country reels from job losses in the oil and gas sector, some estimates as high as 100,000 jobs lost, Trudeau didn’t want this issue on the agenda as he sits down with the premiers in Montreal.
Here are the general themes of the lectures on the original agenda.
- Finance Minister Bill Morneau on competitiveness.
- Environment Minister Catherine McKenna on clean energy initiatives.
- Dominic Leblanc on increased economic collaboration.
That didn’t sit well with any of the premiers, in fact a counter proposal suggested Trudeau’s ministers attend but not talk.
That didn’t sit well with Trudeau’s office.
Notley and Moe join forces.
The biggest push back though came from Alberta’s Rachel Notley and Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe.
Hardly political pals, the pair joined forces to write to Trudeau demanding the crisis in the oil patch be put on the agenda.
“A crisis of this magnitude must be reflected in any discussion on ‘economic competitiveness.’ We trust that the agenda for our upcoming first ministers meeting can be revised to better reflect the need for a substantive discussion on issues of critical importance to the Canadian economy,” the letter reads.
While the PMO now says the oil crisis and price differential will be on the agenda, they even say it was always going to be, the facts say differently.
A lecture not a discussion.
The revised agenda still amounts to Trudeau’s ministers lecturing the premiers for 2 and a half hours. Morneau and Leblanc speak for an hour each, McKenna for half an hour.
The oil crisis has been added on as part of Morneau’s Ted Talk.
The premiers, all of them, are collectively allotted 15 minutes to speak before a roundtable session takes place.
A request to add items such as Bill C-69, the auto sector, cannabis supply and more was rejected outright.
When he was running for the job he now has, Trudeau promised a more co-operative federalism. He promised to treat the provinces with respect and implied Stephen Harper never did.
Then of course he set the health transfer budget unilaterally just as Harper had done.
In his platform he promised to work with the provinces on his big issue of climate change.
“We will instead partner with provincial and territorial leaders to develop real climate change solutions,” the platform states.
Now Trudeau is fighting four provinces on his carbon tax plan and taking a my way or the highway approach.
His arrogance, his entitlement, his haughty attitude are all on full display right now.
When he came to power the premiers offices were mostly occupied by Liberals and Trudeau received a warm welcome.
Some like to point to elections like Doug Ford in Ontario as what has changed everything.
Well there are still plenty of Liberal premiers but the relationship has soured.
The thing that hasn’t changed is Trudeau.
Maybe he is the real problem.