PEI

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland visiting P.E.I. Friday

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is on P.E.I. Friday visiting with public officials.

P.E.I. Premier asked to help with new NAFTA

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with P.E.I. Premier Dennis King on Friday morning. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is on P.E.I. Friday visiting with public officials.

Freeland met with P.E.I. Premier Dennis King at 9 a.m.

"It's great to have the deputy prime minister come in here," King said. 

King spoke with Freeland about affordable housing on the Island, funding for infrastructure and the new NAFTA.

"She asked me to take a role within the progressive conservative movement to make sure that gets ratified in Ottawa quickly," King said. "I took her up on that and told her that I would move that file forward to the best extent that I could."

King said he and Freeland didn't talk about returning P.E.I. to one employment insurance zone, although a letter was sent from an Island PC MLA last week to the federal minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion.

However, when Freeland met with Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown and members of city council, the topic was brought up.

"I've been preaching this issue since the election, the municipal election," Brown said. "She will be going back to Ottawa to speak to the four MPs from Prince Edward Island to find out if there is a consensus to move forward."

Brown also talked about transit and eventually moving toward an electric fleet.

"Electrification of our transit system is something that she jumped on and she is very pleased that we are going forward," Brown said.

However he said going down that route will take time and money. An electric bus is about $1,000,000 and has to be stored in a shelter and have access to charging stations. Brown said he hopes to get support from the federal government.

"It was a big positive meeting with the deputy prime minister, and just her enthusiasm and knowledge on all the areas that we covered was very comforting to hear," Brown said.

Met with protesters on other stops

Freeland has been met with protesters on some recent visits to other provinces.

On Wednesday Freeland was briefly blocked from entering Halifax city hall by demonstrators supporting the opposition by Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs to the construction of a gas pipeline through northern B.C.

Freeland was confronted by dozens of protesters, but was eventually able to enter city hall with the help of Halifax Regional Police.

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