Canada’s premiers are meeting Dec. 2, 2019. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Premiers to meet, try to find consensus amid a host of issues

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Canada’s premiers are meeting today just outside Toronto for the first time as a group since the federal election.

The campaign laid bare some regional divisions, and the premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta — where the Liberals won no seats — have been especially vocal about their asks from Ottawa.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to change the equalization formula, but there is unlikely to be consensus on that around the premiers’ table.

Moe, who is chair of the Council of the Federation, says all of the premiers will come to the meeting with various priorities and differing opinions, but the goal is to find a few issues on which they have common ground.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says health care is a concern for everyone, and that all premiers want a 5.2 per cent annual increase to the Canada Health Transfer.

But there may not be consensus specifically on pharmacare, which will be a key discussion Ottawa will have with the provinces, with Ontario sounding lukewarm notes about it recently, pushing instead for better coverage for rare diseases.

Climate policy will be another tough area to get all parties on side. Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba have all launched legal challenges against the federal carbon price, while others have accepted it or launched their own programs.

The premiers of Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick met Sunday to sign a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on developing nuclear reactors known as small modular reactors. They say it could help meet emission reduction targets.

Ford wants to discuss job creation and internal trade. Moe and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney want to discuss amendments to the fiscal stabilization program. Higgs wants to discuss softwood lumber.

But Ford said Sunday he is confident the premiers can find some areas of agreement.

“We were very, very productive when we met in Saskatchewan (at the last premiers’ meeting),” Ford said. “Premier Moe did an incredible job. Yes, we all have our wishlist, but he’s an expert in narrowing that list down.”

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

“Having this meeting prior to meeting with the prime minister in January gives us a chance to focus,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID cases climb in central zone, Red Deer

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in the province reached 3,138… Continue reading

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s municipal affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Energy industry support won’t injure municipalities

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Premier Jason Kenney participated in a livestream on Oct. 17, 2020. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
UCP members pass resolution at AGM calling for privately funded health care option

EDMONTON — Members of Alberta’s governing United Conservative Party have narrowly endorsed… Continue reading

“We weren’t sure what to expect with just doing the 50/50. We have been positively surprised with sales so far,” says Craig Fleming, co-chair of the Red Deer Kinsmen Club’s raffle. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Non-profits put their money on 50/50 draws

COVID impacts fundraising events

Student taking a math test. (Pixabay photo)
David Marsden: Students need more testing, not less

Testing has been central to Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s… Continue reading

Gillian Robertson celebrates her win over Sarah Frota during UFC 240, in Edmonton, Saturday, July 27, 2019. Robertson used her superior grappling skills to dominate Brazil's Poliano Botelho en route to a unanimous decision win Saturday night on a UFC Fight Night card. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian Gillian (The Savage) Robertson dominates in UFC decision win in Abu Dhabi

Canadian Gillian (The Savage) Robertson dominates in UFC decision win in Abu Dhabi

Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis, right, hugs captain Kyle Bekker following their victory in the Canadian Premier League soccer final against Cavalry FC in Calgary, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. A month after winning the Island Games in Charlottetown, Hamilton-based Forge FC is back on the move. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CPL champion Forge FC off to El Salvador for CONCACAF League preliminary-round match

CPL champion Forge FC off to El Salvador for CONCACAF League preliminary-round match

Course workers prepare the landing area at the ski jump venue in Whistler Olympic Park in Whistler, B.C. Friday, Feb. 5, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Next generation of Canadian ski talent sets sights on Whistler, B.C., in 2023

Next generation of Canadian ski talent sets sights on Whistler, B.C., in 2023

Mighty Heart is held by groom Siobhan Brown in his stall at trainer Josie Carroll's stable at Woodbine Racetrack, in Toronto, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. The one eyed horse, will run in the $400,000 Breeders' Stakes on October 24, attempting to become Canada's first horse to win the Triple Crown since Wando in 2003. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Rain could present big challenge in Mighty Heart’s quest to capture Triple Crown

Rain could present big challenge in Mighty Heart’s quest to capture Triple Crown

Veteran sniper Evgenii Dadonov excited to join Senators: ‘It’s a perfect fit’

Veteran sniper Evgenii Dadonov excited to join Senators: ‘It’s a perfect fit’

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II (27) gets pushed out of bund by Green Bay Packers free safety Darnell Savage (26) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Packers seek to bounce back after embarrassing defeat

Packers seek to bounce back after embarrassing defeat

World junior hockey championship opens on Christmas Day for first time since 2005

World junior hockey championship opens on Christmas Day for first time since 2005

Most Read