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Premier Scott Moe says consensus issues take priority of his ‘new deal’ pitch

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left to right, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe sit as they talk to the media in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said his “new deal” proposals will take a back seat to what Canada’s premiers have agreed to push for from the federal government.

“When you have 13 premiers coming to an agreement on these items, that is the priority. That is the priority for us in the province of Saskatchewan,” Moe said.

“We will continue to advocate over and above some of the pieces where there’s been unanimity by the premiers, as will other premiers.”

The 10 provincial and three territorial premiers released a communique Monday following their meeting in Toronto, which highlights four areas of agreement.

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This includes working with Ottawa to implement competitive environmental assessment rules, work to eliminate protectionist trade measures, revise the Fiscal Stabilization Program, increase health transfers and allow provinces to opt in or out of proposed universal pharmacare.

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Moe’s “new deal” letter he sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the day aft the Oct. 21 federal election included requests to scrap the federal carbon tax from Saskatchewan, renegotiate equalization, and ensure pipelines are built.

“There are a number of opportunities for us to advocate on Saskatchewan’s behalf outside of the consensus that was achieved at the most recent Council of the Federation (COF) meeting, and we’ll continue to do that,” Moe said.

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“But we most certainly are going to prioritize, alongside 12 other premiers in this nation, the issues that were raised at the COF meeting at the finance minister’s table in a couple of weeks and most certainly at the first ministers’ table in the new year.”

The premiers are requesting they be allowed to set the agenda for day two of the upcoming First Ministers’ Meeting with the prime minister. Trudeau would set the agenda for day one in this arrangement.