After flip-flopping on who should take the lead on carbon pricing, Justin Trudeau opted for the easy way out at Thursday's first minister meeting, according to some political strategists.
Following a lengthy, closed-door meeting with the premiers lasting roughly five hours, the prime minister emerged to declare that all parties had reached a consensus on carbon pricing in principle, but offered no details on what that might actually look like.
"He just moved the goal posts and declared victory," said Corey Hogan, one of The Strategists.
In January 2015, Trudeau said the provinces should be free to set their own carbon pricing rules. During the October election campaign, he promised to put a price on carbon — a commitment he reaffirmed in February.
"You don't know which one to listen to because they keep changing time and time again," said Stephen Carter.
Political panelist Zain Velji said Thursday's agreement boiled down to a "unanimous decision to have a plan, to eventually have a solution, to have a plan, to make a decision."
"It means nothing. It ultimately doesn't. It's the only way he could've gotten out of it today," Velji said.
"Most premiers walk away today with an escape hatch going back to their provinces and saying, 'Hey listen, we've agreed on something,' ... and the prime minister also took that same escape hatch."
Hogan said Trudeau's "play nice" approach is beginning to wear thin, and that the prime minister will need to take a tougher approach with the premiers on this contentious issue if he hopes to achieve anything tangible.