Stephen McNeil to discuss climate change, security with Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to meet with the premiers today to discuss climate change — the first time in six years that a prime minister has sat down with provincial and territorial leaders.

First ministers's conference will be first in 6 years with a prime minister

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger speaks as Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, right, looks on at a news conference during a meeting of Canada's premiers in St. John's, N.L., in July. Premiers are scheduled to gather again today to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Premier Stephen McNeil says he hopes the federal government takes into account steps Nova Scotia has taken to combat climate change as he prepares to meet the prime minister Monday in advance of an international climate change summit. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to meet with the premiers today in Ottawa to discuss climate change, the first time in six years a prime minister has sat down with provincial and territorial leaders.

Trudeau is hoping to reach agreement with his provincial and territorial counterparts on a national plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions before he heads to the United Nations climate conference — known as COP21 — next week in Paris.

McNeil says he wants to get a better idea of the federal government's stance on additional carbon pricing.

"People have different visions of what carbon tax is. Do you believe the increase in power bills in the province of Nova Scotia has been a carbon tax? It's been an increase in power bills across the province. It's been dealing with the issue of carbon," he said. 

Province 'working extremely hard'

McNeil says he plans to convey how much the province has already done to combat climate change. 

He says Nova Scotia is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent below 1990 levels in the next five years. 

"While others may have been standing still, this province has actually been working extremely hard to deal with issues around pollution and dealing with that in an aggressive way," he said.

Calling the meeting, "great news for the federation," McNeil says he's looking forward to a back and forth with Trudeau. 

"He'll be able to understand not only individual provinces, but actually all provinces, and get our views at the table when we're having that conversation. And we'll be able to get his perspective."

The premiers are also expected to discuss how the provincial and federal government can work with municipalities to bring in refugees from the crisis in Syria. 

McNeil says he hopes to learn the federal government's plans to provide security as they move forward with the plan to bring in 25,000 people fleeing the conflict. 

With files from The Canadian Press


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