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Politics This Morning: First ministers to meet in Ottawa; Scheer to deliver speech in House on feds’ tax reforms; Morneau to attend Senate’s Question Period

By Marco Vigliotti      
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured Sept. 26, 2017, on the Hill with Canada's new chief science adviser Mona Nemer. National Indigenous leaders will also be in attendance at today's first ministers' meeting in Ottawa.
The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Good Tuesday morning,

Canada’s top political leaders are convening in the nation’s capital for a first ministers’ meeting.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with provincial and territorial premiers, and Indigenous leaders, at Ottawa’s Diefenbaker Building to discuss issues of national importance.

A statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office said the first ministers will discuss “strong, sustainable economic growth that benefits everyone,” while the meeting with Indigenous leaders will “focus on economic development in Indigenous communities.”

Media reports say the Liberal government’s proposed tax changes and the impending legalization of the recreational use of marijuana are expected to emerge as key topics, as are ongoing renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. Trudeau will begin the day by meeting with Indigenous leaders at 9 a.m. in the Library Room. He will then meet with the first ministers and Indigenous leaders at 9:45 a.m. in Victoria Hall.

A first ministers meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m., with a closing press conference involving the provincial and territorial leaders and Mr. Trudeau to start at 4:30 p.m.

This is already the fourth first ministers meeting of Mr. Trudeau’s roughly two-year tenure as prime minister, which already doubles the number of gatherings held by his predecessor Stephen Harper, who held office for nearly a decade.

The economy was the topic of both Mr. Harper’s meetings with his provincial and territorial counterparts, which occurred in late 2008 and early 2009, in the midst of the global economic crisis.

Mr. Trudeau’s first meeting was held shortly after he assumed office in Nov. 2015, and focused primarily on efforts to relocate tens of thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Syria and the upcoming climate change talks in Paris.

He held another conference in Vancouver in early 2016, where the prime minister and his colleagues produced the Vancouver Declaration, a statement affirming their mutual commitment to moving towards a “pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change.”

That meeting was followed by months later by a gathering in December that produced the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

The PMO statement for today’s meeting notes that the federal, provincial, and territorial governments have all “been working closely together to implement” the national framework.

Up on the Hill, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is delivering a speech in the House at 10:30 a.m. about the Liberal government’s proposed tax changes.

Across the aisle, Finance Minister Bill Morneau is appearing in the Upper Chamber from 3:30 p.m.-4:10 p.m. for Senate Question Period.

And finally, happy birthday to to Liberal MP Sven Spengemann and Conservative MP Diane Finley.

Have a great day!

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