The House

In House - Deficit talk and first ministers meeting

In House panelists Susan Delacourt and Joël-Denis Bellavance look ahead to next week's First Ministers meeting in Vancouver where climate change is on the agenda, but where there will be a lot more at stake for Justin Trudeau.
Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna,, left to right, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, B.C. Premier Christy Clark, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, and Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski take part in the family photo during a First Ministers meeting at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Next week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with the provincial and territorial Premiers in Vancouver for an highly-anticipated meeting on climate change.

In House panellists Susan Delacourt, a senior political writer for the Toronto Star and iPolitics, and Joël-Denis Bellavance is the parliamentary bureau chief for La Presse, look at the first real test of Justin Trudeau's vision of federalism.

Chris Hall: Give me a sense Joël-Denis, what else is at stake besides coming up with some agreement around how to proceed with climate change ?

Joël-Denis Bellavance: Well, I think for the first time the world will be watching in Vancouver. The world will be watching why, because Mr. Trudeau made a solemn promise at the Paris Conference to come up with a plan to fight climate change. Mr. Trudeau cannot afford, in my sense, to come out of that meeting without a deal with the provinces.

CH: Really ?

JDB: Oh yes, because in my sense France will be looking at that meeting, the United Nations will be looking at that meeting for progress, but if Mr. Trudeau comes out empty handed I think he will be…

Susan Delacourt: I'm not expecting a deal at that meeting.

CH: Yeah, I'm not either.

Susan Delacourt: I think we'll hear a lot of nice words. This is a real big highwire act that he's got going on with the provinces right now. Unlike his father who wanted to go at it alone on things, Justin Trudeau has invested a lot of his success in other people and whether other people agree with him. I think all he's going to come out with next week is some nice words: "we're on our way there", "we're all going to be sunny and happy about this". It is a little bit like the constitutional days where where you define success by whether you have another meeting.

JDB: My sense is that the world was told in Paris that Canada would come up with a credible plan 90 days after that meeting. And I think France for one country is looking at that meeting as being a key date in the fight against climate change. France will be sending delegates there to watch what's happening.

SD: And he is going to Washington the next week too, but I still think - we've been hearing people playing down the expectations for this, so I'll do my part in that as well.

CH: I'm willing to come back on with you guys and say, if the words carbon price, a national carbon price, I will say "you were right JD" because I'm pretty sure it's not going to be there.