It's very nice that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was feted in Washington but Canada should hope for concrete benefits from his new relationship with the U.S. president, interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose said Monday.
Ambrose, who was in Montreal to meet with female business leaders, said the prime minister "did the job he should do" during his trip to the United States in order to "make connections" with President Barack Obama.
She said she was disappointed, however, that Trudeau didn't take Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr with him to Washington or press the president on energy issues affecting both countries.
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"Yes there was a big party and it was very nice and there was a lot of people who enjoyed it," she said referring to last week's high-profile, celebrity-filled state dinner with the Obamas.
"But there wasn't anything concrete that came out of (the visit). We'll wait and see and hope there will be opportunity for Mr. Trudeau to use the relationship he has with Obama to press for opportunities for Canadians. Canadians need to get benefits from this relationship."
Ambrose said the energy industry played too minor a role in discussions between the two leaders and Trudeau should have pushed Obama to revisit his decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
Obama's energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, told CBC Radio's The House that he has a particularly productive working relationship with Carr.
"I have to say, the current government has certainly picked up the pace in terms of collaborating, particularly in climate-related activities," he said.
"The ministers of the three countries have excellent personal relationships," Moniz said, noting he recently invited his Canadian counterpart to the Clean Energy Ministerial this summer in San Francisco to hash out further plans for energy infrastructure integration.
The two men, alongside their Mexican counterpart, recently signed what some observers have called the 'green NAFTA' in Winnipeg, an agreement that commits the three countries to further harmonizing energy policies.
Tories criticize mounting budget deficits
Ambrose also criticized the government for its reported plan to run larger annual deficits than the $10-billion cap Trudeau promised during the fall election campaign.
Ambrose said when the government tables its budget March 22, the deficit could top $30 billion.
"All that borrowed money is going to have to be paid back," she said, adding the government will have to either raises taxes or make cuts to bring spending under control in the coming years.
The Trudeau government says budget deficits will help spur growth and bring in additional government revenues.
"We will be pushing the federal government to live within its means," Ambrose said.