PEI

4 things P.E.I. Premier Dennis King talked to Justin Trudeau about

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King made a stop in Ottawa on his way to Council of the Federation meetings in Saskatchewan for his first in-person meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

King, Trudeau discussed shared vision on climate change

King and Trudeau met in-person for the first time Monday. (CBC)

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King made a stop in Ottawa Monday on his way to Council of the Federation meetings in Saskatchewan for his first in-person meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

King was elected premier April 23.

Housing

King said he found Trudeau was up to speed on the situation on Prince Edward Island and the need to build more housing.

Specifically, King brought up issues with delays in getting money in the bank to fund housing projects.

"There's a lag in approvals in terms of when the federal and provincial governments approve the funding versus when it gets actually processed," he said.

"They're just waiting for the final check in the box from CMHC so they can get moving, and [I was] really encouraged to hear that the Prime Minister was on top of that file."

King said Trudeau told him he had already spoken to some people in an effort to get that money moving more quickly.

Bridge tolls

The prime minister is willing to discuss ways of lowering tolls on Confederation Bridge, said King.

"He has been talking to Senator [Percy] Downe and certainly appreciates the delicate nature of the discussions and the impacts on P.E.I.," he said.

"We didn't come to any formal agreement going forward other than he opened the door for our staff to continue to talk with his staff to find out what is a reasonable way forward."

King said he made the argument that the current cost of transporting goods off P.E.I. is unfair in relation to the situation with other provinces, and that the toll amounts to a tariff on trade.

Carbon tax

P.E.I.'s current carbon tax deal with Ottawa is for two years, and King said Trudeau wants the two governments to get to work right away on the next deal.

"He's very encouraged with how Prince Edward Island has gotten to where we're at right now," said King.

"He's encouraged about our vision for the future when it comes to the reduction of carbon, so he wants to get that discussion started sooner rather than later to see what comes next."

At a photo opportunity following the meeting, Trudeau said he was pleased at how much he and King shared in their approach to climate change.

"We've been great partners on fighting climate change in a way that's going to grow our economy and benefit families," said Trudeau.

Public transit

The two leaders also discussed public transit in relation to climate change.

King pointed out that a major federal program to support transit is based on ridership, which is a major issue for rural P.E.I. — where there is little transit currently in place.

"With almost 50 per cent of our greenhouse gas production coming from transportation that was one of the issues that we had talked about," said King.

Some more flexibility in that program, King said, would benefit not only P.E.I. but also other remote areas of the country.

Following the meeting King boarded a plane bound for Saskatoon for the Council of the Federation meetings, which run July 9-11.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Kerry Campbell

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