Home » Political Chat, Flapjack Flipping Fill Trudeau’s Stampede Visit Agenda
Canada Featured Global News News Politics

Political Chat, Flapjack Flipping Fill Trudeau’s Stampede Visit Agenda

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returned to Calgary for the Stampede — and a highly publicized sit-down with Premier Danielle Smith on Friday.

Trudeau said the Alberta economy would take top billing in the discussions.

“Alberta has long been an extraordinarily innovative leader in providing energy to the continent and indeed the world,” he said of the meeting.

“The kinds of innovations, whether it’s around hydrogen, whether it’s around chemicals, whether it’s around a range of things, solar, renewables — all sorts of really, really exciting things going on here in Alberta that we’re extremely supportive of and looking forward to working together.”

Smith had previously promised the topics up for discussion with Trudeau would be “energy, energy, energy.” Front and centre was the federal government’s goal of net zero electricity by 2035 — a target Smith has derided as unrealistic. She did not back down from those sentiments during her meeting, also pointing to some of the mid-term targets of carbon reduction as unreachable.

“An emissions cap or an emissions reduction, such as the one that’s been proposed of 42 per cent by 2030 would also result in essentially a production cap, which we don’t think is realistic or feasible,” she said.

Trudeau said a working group that has been formed will “figure out common ground and figure out a path forward.”

Smith indicated she would also discuss Alberta’s role in shipping LNG through B.C.’s ports to Japan and other countries to lower global emissions, which she believes should be credited to the province’s climate action.

Both pointed to concerns over the B.C. port strike which has strangled the country’s ability to export goods. In Alberta it is affecting everything from oil and gas to agriculture and other goods.

“We believe, fundamentally, that the best deals are always found at the bargaining table and we will keep putting a lot of pressure on all parties to find that solution that I know is out there,” Trudeau said.

“But I also know that pressure is mounting day by day and people are really, really worried about what things could look like next week, and we are as well.”

In an official readout of the meeting, Smith’s office described the meeting as “constructive” but said divisions still exist on issues such as net-zero emissions targets and clean energy regulations.

“Alberta has sovereign and exclusive constitutional jurisdiction to regulate our energy and electricity industries. This is non-negotiable,” it reads.

“If Ottawa does not recognize and support Alberta’s exclusive right to regulate these sectors of our economy, our province will have no choice but to use alternative policy options to protect our rights independent of federal interference.”

The prime minister’s children did not join him this year as they have previously, but he will still be actively meeting with Stampede-goers and participating in a pancake breakfast on Saturday with the Muslim community.

Trudeau said he has stepped up his pancake game.

“I’ve learned over the years how to how to flip them properly to get people cheering,” he said on a radio appearance Friday morning.

That positive reception was evident on the midway Friday afternoon. Trudeau — dressed in a white western shirt with green trim, blue jeans, cowboy boots and, of course, a white hat — was swarmed by thousands of people mugging to take a selfie with him.

He was there to meet smaller Stampede-goers in the BMO Kids’ Zone before meeting with participants in the Canada Summer Jobs Program.

Bola Makanjula, his wife, Cola Makanjula, and their children had driven from Edmonton for their first Stampede when they spotted Trudeau making his way through the throng of people.

While they are in the minority as Trudeau supporters in Alberta, he said it was refreshing to see the PM make a stop in Calgary.

“We kind of see him as someone that places a lot of emphasis on the eastern part of the country,” he said. “To see him coming here for Calgary Stampede, it shows he actually thinks about Western Canada, and I hope that will kind of continue.”

Joel Cowley, president and CEO of the Stampede, said it’s an honour that the prime minister — regardless of who is in office — makes a point of coming every year, highlighting the importance the event holds locally and nationally.

“We can measure attendance and we can measure economic impact, but a lot of what the Calgary Stampede does, it’s qualitative,” he said. “It’s that community spirit, people coming together as a true community and enjoying each other. And I hope he gets that sense when he visits today.”

Trudeau’s agenda Friday also included an afternoon stop in the riding of Calgary-Heritage, where Liberal candidate Elliot Weinstein is seeking to win the July 24 federal by-election, and a later fundraiser with party supporters.

Source : Calgary Herald