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Once again, Trudeau doesn’t meet Moe on a Sask. visit

Premier Scott Moe again laments lack of notice by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding latest stop in Saskatchewan
Premier Scott Moe seen April 23 at the announcement at Regina airport on the purchase of four new aerial firefighting aircraft.

REGINA - Once again, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a visit to Saskatchewan, and once again there was no meeting with Premier Scott Moe.

At the province’s media event at Regina airport on the purchase of new firefighting airtankers on Tuesday, Moe was asked about Trudeau’s latest short-notice visit and post-budget announcement made at Waneskewin in Saskatoon that same morning.

“We were notified yesterday. No opportunity for a meeting or to participate in the announcement, which is somewhat disappointing,” said Moe. 

“However, in saying that, we had our schedule booked as well with this announcement and other things that we’re doing. We don’t wait for a call from the Prime Minister to meet with him or to go take a photo with him.”

Moe did say, however, that he appreciated the Prime Minister being in the province regarding the federal government’s latest investment.

Premier Moe said it was his understanding that the Prime Minister's announcement “was on the virtual health hub which we worked with Whitecap Dakota community, Dr. (Ivar) Mendez as well, for a number of months if not years now, and the province is part of that funding agreement and announcement as well. So I suppose, with not having the offer to participate in today’s announcement, we’ll do a provincial announcement at some time in the future.”

Moe did say he welcomed the Prime Minister being in the province and said the federal investment was “one of the positives, I think, in the budget.” The federal government is committing over $21 million to the Virtual Health Hub.

This has not been the first time controversy has arisen about Prime Minister Trudeau not meeting or inviting provincial officials during his visits to the province. In January 2023, Prime Minister Trudeau visited a rare earth elements processing plant in Saskatoon. Afterwards, Premier Moe publicly aired his displeasure to reporters that the province hadn’t been invited, given that rare earth processing was a topic in which the province and Feds were on the same page. The Prime Minister’s office later issued an apology for failing to invite the Premier.

In April 2023, Trudeau visited Regina to promote the recent 2023 federal budget, but again did not meet Premier Moe. Moe later explained he was only offered five minutes with the Prime Minister, which he said would not have been sufficient to discuss items such as the Clean Electricity regulations and infrastructure. Moe was also scheduled that day to be in Prince Albert and told a news conference he “wasn’t going to drive an eight-hour round trip” to not fully discuss those items.

These past incidents have contributed to recent media commentary about a "frosty" relationship between the provincial and federal government, and in particular between Moe and Trudeau.

On this latest failure to meet, Premier Moe was asked what it said about relations with the Feds, given this was not the first time the Prime Minister had arrived on short notice in the province.

“I would turn that. It’s not only Saskatchewan that doesn’t receive a heads up or invitation to sit down with the Prime Minister on his visits here," said Moe, pointing to "the very same comments from other Premiers across Canada as well."

"From my perspective it’s a disappointing relationship. We have a federal government that is coming into a province, making an announcement for two-thirds of a project of which of the province is the other third, and there’s no invitation extended to that province, and no advance notice. We had no advance notice that this was the announcement until it was public. All of that is really petty conversation. We need to do better, and I would say the federal government needs to do better as well as they attempt to have a much more productive relationship with not just the province of Saskatchewan, but I would say many other provinces across the nation. And if they choose not to, we will likely find ourselves in the situation in Canada where they will be replaced and they will be an administration that will choose to. We need good federal-provincial relations in order to advance our opportunities collectively as Canadians from coast to coast to coast. That’s what we truly believe and continue to believe.”