iPolitics AM: Trudeau heads to Halifax as Chretien takes the spotlight in Ottawa

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ALSO TODAY: Ng, Lefebvre make the rounds at mining meet-up — Ministers unveil federal cash boosts for agri-food sector, local tourism, access to support for chronic pain

After kicking off the week with an on-stage appearance at the world’s biggest mining conference in Toronto yesterday — which gave him the opportunity to reiterate his government’s pledge to listen to industry, civil society, Indigenous communities and “all Canadians” as it plots a path to a low-carbon future — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Halifax.

The first (and, according to his official itinerary, only) item on his public agenda: A morning stop at Common Good Solutions — which, as per its website, “helps governments, community organizations and entrepreneurs achieve their ultimate impact” — to share the details of his ongoing bid to boost “youth employment.”

After the official reveal is wrapped up, he’ll take questions from the media, at which point he can expect to be pressed for details on the still-unresolved standoff over the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

As the Star reported yesterday, despite making what Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett described as “significant” progress in reaching an agreement on recognizing the rights of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s hereditary chiefs during marathon negotiations over the weekend, there’s currently no plan to bring an end to the rolling blockades that have targeted passenger and freight rail traffic over the last three weeks.

There’s also no guarantee that the pipeline’s backers can count on the continued support of the local Indigenous communities who initially signed on to the proposed route.

According to CBC News, at least one local Indigenous leader, Burns Lake First Nation Chief Dan George, now says he’s prepared to reverse his stance “if his people turn against it,” and stressed the need for all community members to have a say in the decision.

“We need to come to a Wet’suwet’en solution together,” he told CBC News.

“The whole nation should come together and discuss both the agreement and the pipeline itself … Every Wet’suwet’en member should be involved one way or another. It started out from the Wet’suwet’en people and the Wet’suwet’en people need to fix it.”

Back in Toronto, two Team Trudeau representatives are set to spend another day making the rounds at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s annual meet-up: Small Business Minister Mary Ng, who is booked in for a speech at the African Mining Breakfast and a mid-morning tour of the tradeshow floor, and Paul Lefebvre, who serves as parliamentary secretary to Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan, on whose behalf he’ll unveil new federal cash to “increase Indigenous participation in the forestry sector.”

Later this afternoon, Ng will drop by a local housing complex and host a “roundtable discussion” with the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce before ending her day at York University, where she’ll attend the launch of the Entrepreneurial Leadership & Learning Alliance.

Finally, former prime minister Jean Chretien makes one of his periodic returns to the political spotlight as the star speaker at a “day-long conversation” on “delivering results for Canadians” hosted by the Canada School for Public Service, which, according to the advisory, will explore “four nation-building themes that evoked tough choices and fierce resistance” — deficit reduction, national unity and “the Chretien doctrine and the decision to keep Canada out of the Iraq war.”

While the programme makes no direct reference to the ongoing bid to forge a lasting nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous communities and people, given his experience both as prime minister and, at one point, as lead minister for what was then dubbed “Indian affairs,” Chretien will almost certainly have thoughts to share on how his successor is handling the job — and possibly even some suggestions on how he could do better.

ALSO ON THE MINISTERIAL CIRCUIT 

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson drops by the Canadian Crops Convention currently underway in Vancouver to outline a new “investment” from the Protein Industries Supercluster, a funding initiative that aims to “make Canada a leading source for plant proteins and, ultimately, feed the world.”

Elsewhere in the province, Middle Class Prosperity Minister Mona Fortier talks “quality of life and growing the economy” at a roundtable chat with the Surrey Board of Trade before meeting with local families at a nearby coffee shop to discuss the same issues, while Seniors Minister Deb Schulte stops by a Gibsons community centre to roll out more federal cash to “increase opportunities” for local seniors to “stay connected to their community.”

Meanwhile, Trudeau’s designated “Special Representative for the Prairies” Jim Carr heads to the University of Saskatchewan’s heath sciences building with new federal funding to boost “access to care for people living with chronic pain.”

Out and about in Northern Ontario: Health Minister Patty Hadju, who will detail new support to “enhance tourism, promote diversity and support economic growth” on her political home turf of Thunder Bay, while Labour Minister Filomena Tassi will make what her office is billing as a “significant announcement” on new support for “youth entrepreneurship and business growth” in the Kapuskasing region.

Finally, Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier delivers “financial support” for local businesses during back-to-back events in Riviere-du-Loup and Matane.

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