The first meeting between newly-crowned Premier Scott Moe and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was described as “cordial” and “productive.”
“The entire conversation was a constructive conversation and the fact the conversation was happening I think is necessary,” Moe told reporters afterwards. “This is our federal government, this is our prime minister.
“We have to engage in particular on opportunities where we can progress Saskatchewan’s interests.”
There were several items discussed at the meeting. Most notably money for infrastructure, rural crime, the grain backlog and carbon tax, although it wasn’t surprising that no consensus was reached.
“I’ll call the issues as I see them and I will always call on behalf of Saskatchewan people but we have to keep talking,” Moe added.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale attended the meeting between the two, along with deputy premier Gord Wyant, and believes there is a way forward despite the different political positions they represent.
“Obviously there are points of disagreement but we will continue to operate in goodwill and good faith,” Goodale said. “The real challenge here and I think the real opportunity is to keep the conversation going.”
But Goodale admitted the issues of carbon tax and finding some agreement between Ottawa and Saskatchewan didn’t appear possible, although he added, “hope springs eternal.”
The meeting between the four lasted roughly an hour and Moe hopes there will be more opportunities to meet in the future.
Trudeau announces new head of RCMP
The RCMP Depot Division was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first stop in his busy day in the Queen City Friday.
He announced the appointment of Brenda Lucki, the first female commissioner of the RCMP.
“She is an exceptional leader who is known for being a hard worker, a dedicated officer and someone who is constantly looking for ways to improve the status quo,” Trudeau told the RCMP training academy.
“We look forward to working with her to help keep all Canadians safe.”
The RCMP has been plagued by accusations of sexual harassment and workplace bullying. It’s now also facing an investigation by its own watchdog, amid questions of racism in light of the Gerald Stanley case.
Trudeau said having Lucki in the role will help advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, support mental wellness across the RCMP and address workplace harassment.
The Prime Minister took questions from the media and was asked to address the fallout from the Stanley case.
“There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done on reconciliation. Our system has not fairly treated Indigenous people,” Trudeau said. “We need a conversation about the fears people have, the concerns people have and work together to allay them.”
“There is an awful lot of work to do.”
Trudeau visits George Bothwell Library
The kids section of the George Bothwell Library was packed with families Friday afternoon as they waited for the Prime Minister to arrive.
He spent a few minutes speaking with parents and playing with the children before stepping behind the podium.
“The one thing I know all parents wish they had is more time — more time to just slow down, to watch their kids learn and grow. To help build play forts, go for walks and visit the library,” said Trudeau.
The prime minister announced the parental leave changes revealed in the budget last week.
It’s a “use-it-or-lose-it” leave, which would give the non-birth parent an extra five weeks of leave.
“Our government believes that Canadian families should have more flexibility when it comes to raising their kids during those important early moments in life,” said Trudeau.
He believes the change will help get mothers back to work quicker, and help address discrimination women face during the hiring process.
Mar Kress was at the announcement with his two kids. He said the announcement sounded good to him. His wife took the full year of leave with both children.
“I know, if we’d had this option back then … I would have loved to have a third, and if we (do), this would be the best option for our family.”
Jesse Bailey was also at the announcement with his wife and their 16-month old daughter. He said he’s taking four months of leave at the end of his wife’s leave, but that it’s unpaid.
Bailey added he’ll be taking advantage of the new leave option in the future.
“It’s going to be a great bridge for our next baby when we both take time off to be with them.”
Trudeau spent the rest of the afternoon in a meeting at the Saskatchewan legislature with Premier Scott Moe.
— With files from 980 CJME’s Sarah Mills and Lisa Schick