Council of the Federation: Ford imposes its mark

The premiers of Quebec and Ontario, Philippe Couillard and Doug Ford, took a short walk in front of the cameras Thursday at the Council of the Federation currently taking place in New Brunswick.

SAINT-ANDREWS | After the recent Couillard-Wynne alliance, the arrival of Doug Ford has cast a chill over relations between Quebec and Ontario, as the Council of the Federation, which runs until Friday in New Brunswick, demonstrates. Brunswick.

Prime Minister Philippe Couillard and his Ontario counterpart took a short walk for the cameras on Thursday, but no working meeting between the two men is scheduled during the two-day summit.

“This is the first time we meet, says Philippe Couillard. When we meet people for the first time, we go gradually. It’s true in life and it’s true in politics too. “

Strategy to review

But for political scientist Éric Montigny, the arrival of Conservative Doug Ford at the head of Ontario is a “cooling” in relations between Quebec and the neighboring province. “Philippe Couillard’s entire strategy on interprovincial issues was based on this relationship with Ontario. With the arrival of Doug Ford, part of this strategy has just collapsed, “said the assistant professor at Laval University.

The new Ontario premier is imposing a new dynamic, he continues, and Quebec is no longer at the heart of it. For example, Ontario’s support for Saskatchewan’s carbon tax challenge dominated hallway discussions on Thursday. “Doug Ford upsets the agenda of prime ministers who, like Mr. Couillard, wanted to talk about internal trade,” said Éric Montigny.

Immigration and supply management

The popularity of Ontario’s new prime minister was evident from his arrival on Wednesday at the opening cocktail party of the Council of the Federation, where Doug Ford has multiplied selfies.

Despite the divergent philosophies between the two elected, Philippe Couillard ensures that the relationship between Quebec and Ontario remains strong. “Central Canada, Quebec and Ontario, remain 50% of the population, more than 50% of the economy, our businesses are closely intertwined,” he said. assuring that he and his counterpart are determined to continue in this direction.

The two premiers also found some points of agreement yesterday. They issued a joint communiqué demanding that Ottawa “fully” compensate the provinces for the costs of illegal immigration.

Doug Ford also agreed to reiterate “the importance of supply management for the Canadian economy,” a priority issue for Quebec in the face of President Trump’s protectionist threats. 

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