REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Tuesday in a bid to advance his province’s interests in the nation’s capital.
Moe announced the meeting in a news release on Sunday, saying he’ll emphasize three priorities he raised earlier when the federal Liberals were returned to government with a minority in last month’s election.
They include adjusting the equalization formula, which Moe calls “inequitable,” as well as putting a one-year pause on the carbon tax so federal and provincial officials can re-evaluate Saskatchewan’s plan to address climate change.
He says the third priority is expanding market access for Saskatchewan exports.
Moe states in each case, Saskatchewan is proposing reasonable steps Trudeau and his government can take to show he is “prepared to address the concerns and frustrations of Saskatchewan people.”
Trudeau’s relationship with some conservative premiers is strained after his decision to impose a price on pollution in any province without an equivalent system of its own, including Saskatchewan.
Talk of western separation arose again after Alberta and Saskatchewan shut the Liberals out of the October vote.
At a post-election conference of the conservative Manning Centre on Saturday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney noted his province’s frustration over its position in the federation, and announced a panel that will examine ways to make the province more independent of Ottawa.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, meanwhile, held his own sit-down meeting with Trudeau in Ottawa on Friday, saying he could help broker a truce between the prime minister and anti-carbon tax conservative premiers such as Kenney and Moe.
Moe suggested late last month that increased support for western separatism is the end result of what has gone on over the first four years of a Trudeau government. But he said he believes Saskatchewan should be in a strong and united Canada.
He said at the time that Trudeau needs to act if he’s serious about wanting to improve relations with Western Canada by scrapping the federal carbon tax and revamping equalization.