Monday, 8 July 2013

Whatever happened to First Ministers' Conferences?

First Ministers' Conferences, that is a meeting between the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premiers of the provinces, used to happen nearly once each year, especially through the 1980s and 1990s.  Their frequency fell off in the 2000s, but Jean Chretien still managed to attend seven in 10 years, and Paul Martin managed one in his short time as PM.  Stephen Harper has attended once, in 2008, since he became prime minister.

These conferences are an opportunity for coordinating between the provinces and the federal government, especially where there are overlapping areas of interest.  They also allow consultation between the federal and provincial governments, and present a forum where leaders from different parts of the country can come together to ensure that uniform standards are established for things like health care, education, transportation and environment, which otherwise could (and often do) differ from one province to the next.

So why don't they happen any more?

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