Premiers head to Montreal for tough meeting with Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the first session of the first ministers meeting flanked by Ontario Premier Doug Ford intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Le Blanc and Quebec Premier Francois Legault in Montreal on Friday

But Notley and her Saskatchewan counterpart Scott Moe joined forces his week to challenge the agenda for this week's first ministers meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

And even Trudeau has become something of an antagonist for Notley these days, with the Alberta leader regularly bashing Ottawa's failure to get the pipeline built and inaction to help alleviate the recent oil price crisis. Alberta and Saskatchewan are especially concerned about the bill, and claim it will throw up more barriers for major resource projects.

In the lead up to the Montreal-hosted first premiers meeting, $84,000 has been spent by Alberta to purchase advertising in and around the city.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's meeting with provincial and territorial premiers wrapped up in Montreal Friday without any signs of substantial breakthroughs on issues that plague the economy but also without much of the drama that was expected going into the summit.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford who had initially threatened to walk out of the meeting if his demands for changes to the agenda weren't met, described the discussions as "fabulous" and "fantastic".

Ford said he was looking forward to Friday's meeting but, after his tete-a-tete with Trudeau, he refused to answer reporters' questions about whether walking away from the table is still an option.

As it regards to moving the goalposts, it's not something Trudeau accepts.

Ford, who held his own press conference after no-showing the joint media availability with his colleagues, said Trudeau told him that some provinces will need to implement more aggressive reduction goals because provinces like Alberta will not meet their targets. Federal officials said there was nothing new in Ottawa's position that the Ford government isn't doing enough to fight climate change.

Alberta premier announces the province is cutting oil production
Alberta premier announces the province is cutting oil production

But Canada's premiers had other ideas.

Ford and other premiers wanted to discuss the nationally-loathed, job killing, environmentally pointless carbon tax.

"It's not my interpretation", McNeil said when asked if the prime minister had changed expectations.

"Everything was discussed", said Blaine Higgs, New Brunswick's Conservative premier and the chair of the meeting from the premiers' side.

Legault also raised the issue with Trudeau of compensation for costs incurred in paying for asylum seekers.

Quebec's Francois Legault says there's no way Quebecers will ever approve a pipeline through their province. Quebec is seeking $300 million to cover costs incurred. After the meeting, Legault said Trudeau was willing to discuss Quebec's request.

"I'm optimistic that we'll all see it through", said Higgs. He also rejected calls to revive the Energy East project by saying pipelines no longer have "social acceptability" in his province.

But other premiers, including fellow Conservative Brian Pallister from Manitoba, disputed Ford's interpretation of what the prime minister said behind closed doors in Montreal and Trudeau himself dismissed the charge. Overall, a gathering that seemed on Thursday at risk of being derailed by disgruntled premiers ended with little fanfare on Friday evening. "And frankly, we know how we can work together and move forward".

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