Late news out of Vancouver Thursday from the First Ministers meeting is that the Prime Minister and the Premiers were unable to come to a national agreement on a carbon tax or emission limits.
Many speculated that the Trudeau government would force a deal over any protests of provinces like Saskatchewan. But, it seems Justin wasn’t able to achieve his dream and will have to settle for an expanded bureaucracy on the climate carbon file.
They did agree to have working groups look into which carbon pricing mechanism works best for each individual province’s situation. That's it. Working groups and a symbolic agreement that carbon pricing should be part of a strategy but no actual plan after three days of meetings in Vancouver.
No wonder former Prime Minister Stephen Harper wasn’t a fan of First Ministers meetings. He only held two such conferences while in office and did so only during the toughest economic conditions in recent history. He knew they were nothing more than photo ops and back patting opportunities for elite politicians.
And what about the cost? I’m sure these people booked up all the high end downtown Vancouver luxury hotel rooms as part of this 3 day boondoggle of a conference.
But, the media party loves these events. It's a chance for them to get together and admire the new government’s sunny ways, maybe land a selfie with Justin, a nice shot with beautiful Vancouver scenery in the background.
A CBC journalist tweeted that 1,000 people were in the room to hear Justin speak on the first day. I’d bet the vast majority were fawning journalists and militant NGO activists from groups like TIDES. I don’t think average Canadians were waiting to see what our new national Carbon or Climate strategy would entail.
I do think many Canadian energy workers were waiting nervously to see if Trudeau was trying to hammer another nail in their coffin.
I don’t know what went on behind the scenes but I’m pretty sure we can thank Brad Wall for leading whatever opposition there was to Justin’s attempts to force a strategy on unwilling provinces.