Trade talks with Donald Trump and the race to adopt new rules for legalized pot will dominate the agenda as Canada’s premiers gather in Edmonton this week.
With the U.S. president expected to lay out his objectives in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as early as today, the annual summer meeting of the Council of the Federation will be seized with ensuring diverse provincial interests are brought to the table when the federal government begins talks next month.
‘We’re not afraid to have NAFTA looked at and negotiated, but I think it’s important this doesn’t drag on.’
– Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is calling for a united front to promote the provinces’ various economic drivers —from oil and hydro to seafood and rubber.
“What we need to make sure of — and I think this would be a common front — is that provinces would be part of that conversation, that this conversation doesn’t happen without our input, and telling us what those negotiations look like so we can give them the impact of what it would mean to our respective provinces.”
Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton, will take part in Tuesday’s session, which will focus primarily on engaging with the U.S. on critical issues like softwood lumber and NAFTA.
“We’re not afraid to have NAFTA looked at and negotiated, but I think it’s important this doesn’t drag on,” McNeil said. “We need to make sure investment confidence is still high, recognizing our two countries are linked.”
Tuesday’s meeting will also include discussions on domestic economic issues such as labour mobility, infrastructure and environmental approvals.
Indigenous leaders boycott
The three-day gathering was to begin today with meetings with five Indigenous groups, but three of the leading groups are boycotting.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Métis National Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami…