Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acted just like his daddy on Friday, in all the wrong ways.
Trudeau was hosting a First Ministers Meeting in Montreal and at once was both dismissive of the provinces and premiers, as his father had been, and even tried to pit East against West.
Trudeau set an agenda for the meeting that initially gave premiers little time to raise their issues.
Instead of the PM sitting around the table and discussing issues with the premiers, the plan was to have the premiers listen as Trudeau’s ministers gave glorified Ted Talks on how great the government was.
That didn’t sit well and premiers demanded issues, such as the oil crisis, the auto sector, the lack of cannabis supply and the cost of illegal border crossers all be discussed.
Trudeau promised his ministers would only give presentation for a few minutes before discussions began. That didn’t happen.
At one point New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs had to interrupt Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
“In the spirit of this being a dialogue, not a lecture — let’s have questions,” a source in the room quoted Higgs as saying.
Leaving for lunch a frustrated Rachel Notley said, “We’ve started,” when I asked her if they had talked about oil.
The Alberta premier had to force the issue into the discussion along with Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe. Moe was obviously frustrated during the break.
This was far from a showdown just between Trudeau and Ontario’s Doug Ford as the PMO would want to describe it, this was a bunch of premiers frustrated with being lectured to by the lackeys of an arrogant and out of touch PM.
First Ministers Meetings are supposed to be about first ministers, the premiers and the PM, not cabinet ministers giving Ted Talks or as one provincial staffer described Morneau’s presentation, a government infomercial.
Sparks did fly between Ford and Trudeau over the issue of carbon taxes with Trudeau reportedly telling the Ontario premier that if Ontario residents didn’t pay more through a carbon tax then the oil sands would have to shut down.