VANCOUVER – Brad Wall says Saskatchewan will play a “constructive role” when the premiers sit down today in Vancouver with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss climate change policies.
The first ministers’ meeting has taken on a fractious atmosphere this week amid squabbling over who was invited to the table, pipeline politics and a dispute over carbon pricing.
Wall has been in the thick of the fray in the lead-up to today’s formal sit-down, repeatedly levelling broadsides at the Liberal platform promise of putting a national price on carbon.
Expectations for the meeting – Trudeau’s second with the premiers since taking office in early November – have been repeatedly lowered and the goal now is to find a common front in continuing a process toward a national policy framework.
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Four working groups will be set up with six-month deadlines to assess policy options, including a group that will study Canada’s various existing carbon pricing systems.
Wall tells that Saskatchewan officials will “absolutely, absolutely” be participating in the working groups, dismissing talk that the province might boycott the carbon talks.
“We’ll play a constructive role,” Wall said late Wednesday following a meeting between the premiers, indigenous leaders and Trudeau.
“We’ll have a good day.”
There were clearly diverse opinions among indigenous leaders following Wednesday’s meeting with Trudeau and the provinces.
Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, called it a “very productive” exercise because it’s been agreed that indigenous peoples will be part of the working groups setting out policy options.
Several participants cautiously called the meeting a start.
“We didn’t deal with anything of substance,” said Clement Chartier of the Metis National Council. “We dealt with process.”