TORONTO – Politics – The Prime Minister and the Premier of Ontario have finally met after a 396 day time lag in a meeting. In a statement from the PMO, on the closed door meeting: “They spoke of a number of important issues related to jobs and the economy. Specifically, they agreed on the importance of ongoing investments in infrastructure, including the federal government’s new Building Canada Fund.
“They also discussed the need to remove barriers to internal trade, the importance of continued support from both levels of government for the manufacturing and automotive sectors, as well as the important role of resource development for the Ontario and Canadian economies.
“The leaders agreed that they would remain in touch on these and other issues important to Ontarians and Canadians”.
There has been no official word on action on the Ring of Fire in Northern Ontario, but the two reportedly discussed funding issues and other infrastructure related projects.
Following her meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne issued the following statement:
“Today’s meeting with the Prime Minister is a positive step forward as we work to build Ontario up and strengthen Canada’s economy. The Prime Minister and I agreed that by collaborating in key areas we can better position Ontario and Canada for economic growth and build more opportunity and security for the people we serve.
That is why today I reiterated the importance of infrastructure. Investments in public infrastructure are one of the most efficient ways for governments to support economic growth and job creation, while fostering a more globally competitive business environment.
Ontario has committed up to $1 billion toward strategic transportation infrastructure in the Ring of Fire. Today, the Prime Minister and I had a good discussion about our request for a federal partner. Ontario is seeking the federal government’s involvement in the Ring of Fire Development Corporation. Federal support will help move forward this important project, which will create jobs, provide opportunities for First Nations communities and provide economic benefits well beyond our province.
The Prime Minister and I also spoke about the quality of First Nations’ drinking water, an issue that affects First Nations across Canada. Though it technically falls under federal jurisdiction, it is of concern to both our governments and we agreed that, going forward, our governments will work together to make the progress that is needed.
The federal government has collaborated very effectively with us to support the auto industry, resulting in economic growth and jobs for thousands of Canadians. I am pleased that Prime Minister Harper and I agreed today to continue working together to secure strategic anchor investments and R&D projects in the auto sector in Ontario.
Ontario is expected to lead economic growth among the provinces this year. A stronger partnership between provinces and the federal government at this time will support growth and job creation in Ontario and Canada, and help improve people’s lives. In this context, we also discussed the importance of internal trade in improving Canada’s economy and agreed to deepen our collaboration and commitment to removing trade barriers between provinces.
A collaborative partnership between Ontario and the federal government will help expand opportunity and security for the people of Ontario and all Canadians. I am confident that today’s meeting can mark the beginning of such a partnership. The Prime Minister and I agreed to continue these important dialogues on an ongoing basis and I look forward to the progress that we will make on the issues that matter to the people of Ontario. My cabinet ministers will also continue to work with their federal counterparts to build on the progress we made today.”