Politics This Morning: Trudeau holds bilateral meeting with Saint Lucia PM; third round of NAFTA talks concludes; Chrétien sits down with Romanow

Call it a flashback! Former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien, pictured on the Hill in 2016, is sitting down today for an interview with his good friend and former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow. The two were among the country's most notable political leaders of the 1990s. The Hill Times file photograph

PUBLISHED :Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017 11:50 PM

Good Wednesday morning,

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Allen Chastanet at 9 a.m. (EST) in his Centre Block office on Parliament Hill. He will attend the Liberals’ national caucus meeting at 10 a.m. and Question Period at 2 p.m. At 4 p.m., he will attend the National Holocaust Monument Inauguration Ceremony with Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly at the corner of Wellington and Booth streets and will do an interview with TodayWithTray’s YouTube channel. 

The third round of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement is wrapping up today in Ottawa, with Canadian representatives set to hold a series of bilateral and trilateral meetings with their continental colleagues over the course of the day.

At 9 a.m., Canadian and Mexican representatives will hold a bilateral meeting, while Canadian and U.S. officials will convene at 11 a.m. Finally, all three sides will sit down together at noon during a meeting at Global Affairs Canada’s headquarters at 125 Sussex Drive.


The meetings come after Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland hosted a private dinner with Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal and United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer last night.

After talks wrap up, the high-profile trio are expected to release a joint statement at 2:30 p.m. from the Cadieux Room at Global Affairs Canada’s headquarters.

The first round of NAFTA renegotiations ran for a week last month in Washington, D.C., while the second series also took place over a week in Mexico City. No further rounds have been scheduled.

As for the Hill, it’s weekly caucus day, meaning most MPs will be meeting with party colleagues for the duration of the morning.


Shifting gears, former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow is sitting down with  former prime minister Jean Chrétien to discuss the future of Canada, including Quebec’s role in Confederation, in a 30-minute conversation at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

The interview, to be livestreamed at 4:30 p.m. (Central time), will be followed by a Q&A and discussion with the audience.

While prime minister, Mr. Chrétien tasked Mr. Romanow, who led Saskatchewan’s NDP government from 1991-2001, with chairing the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, which ran from 2001 to 2002. The two are close friends, and Mr. Chrétien is widely reported to have attempted to recruit Mr. Romanow to run for the federal Liberals, though those advances were rebuffed.

Mr. Romanow currently serves as chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan.


Mr. Chrétien served as prime minister from 1993 to 2003, overseeing the narrow victory for the federalist side in the 1995 Quebec referendum.

Following the close call, Mr. Chrétien’s Liberal government passed the Clarity Act, which set out the conditions under which the federal government would enter into negotiations on the secession of a province. Most notably, the act, forever-associated with then-intergovernmental affairs minister Stéphane Dion, allows the federal House of Commons to determine whether the ballot proposition in a secession vote was clear and if the result was the expression of a clear majority.

In other news, Finance Minister Bill Morneau is visiting Toronto to host a multicultural media roundtable on the Liberal government’s proposed tax reforms designed to restrict the savings generated from incorporation. It goes at 11:30 a.m. at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood. 

Meanwhile, Sport and Persons with Disabilities Minister Kent Hehr is addressing the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s 2017 human rights symposium Beyond Labels this morning at Ottawa’s Shaw Centre. The Calgary MP will speak to attendees at 8:55 a.m.

Also in Ottawa, the Public Policy Forum and the Canadian Medical Association are hosting a one-day conference Wednesday in Ottawa on implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to actions on Indigenous health.

Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott is scheduled to address the conference, hosted at the National Arts Centre, over lunch, and will speak to the media afterwards at roughly 1:05 p.m. The conference runs from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  

Finally, the Canada Media Fund is hosting its second annual showcase event of Canadian television and digital productions at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building in Ottawa’s Parliament Hill precinct.

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly will give introductory remarks at the event, which starts at 5 p.m.

Have a great day!