Canada’s provincial Premiers will meet with the Prime Minister today for the first time since 2009, marking Justin Trudeau’s first meeting with the country’s provincial and territorial leaders.
The First Ministers’ Conferences are called by the Prime Minister and had long been avoided by former PM Stephen Harper. The last time the country’s leaders met was in January 2009 to discuss the implications of the 2008 economic recession. They also met once before in 2008 after Harper was re-elected.
While they may not have had any issue of that magnitude since, the First Ministers’ meetings are an important step toward a cohesive federal strategy that benefits all Canadians.
The much-debated plan to resettle Syrian refugees in Canada will likely be top of the agenda for Trudeau’s meeting. 25,000 Syrian refugees are expected to be settled in Canada by the end of this year, but conflicts have arisen about where to land them and how to best integrate them into our society, all while maintaining a tight security screening process. The meeting will also work on a national strategy to fight climate change prior to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change taking place in Paris beginning on November 30.
“The challenges we face as a country require a true partnership between the federal government and the provinces and territories, which can only be achieved by sitting down together and engaging in an open and continuous dialogue,” said the Prime Minister in a statement.
“I have the deepest respect for our Premiers, and for the knowledge and range of perspectives they bring to the table. It is exciting to engage with them today on the pressing issues of climate change and the resettlement of Syrian refugees, and I look forward to regular collaboration on a range of issues important to Canadians.”
Trudeau has promised to hold First Ministers’ Conferences each year during his term.