Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Harper and Wynne Have First Meeting in More Than a Year in Toronto

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Harper and Wynne Have First Meeting in More Than a Year in Toronto

Article excerpt

Harper and Wynne meet in Toronto

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TORONTO - Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met Monday night in Toronto, with the premier calling their first face-to-face talk in more than a year the beginning of a collaborative partnership.

The two leaders discussed the quality of First Nations' drinking water, a commitment to removing trade barriers between provinces, and agreed to continue working to secure strategic anchor investments and research and development projects in the auto sector in Ontario, Wynne said in a statement.

They also agreed on the importance of ongoing investments in infrastructure, a spokesman for Harper confirmed.

Increased infrastructure spending from the federal government is one of many issues Wynne has highlighted as she pushed for months for a meeting with Harper.

The Conservative prime minister had last met with the Liberal premier Dec. 5, 2013.

When Harper was in the Toronto area last month he did not meet with Wynne, but fit in a private meeting with newly elected Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Following Wynne and Harper's meeting Monday -- Harper was in town for the gold-medal World Junior Championship hockey game between Canada and Russia -- the tone of Wynne's press release was more optimistic than her statements about their relationship in recent months.

"A collaborative partnership between Ontario and the federal government will help expand opportunity and security for the people of Ontario and all Canadians," she wrote. "I am confident that today's meeting can mark the beginning of such a partnership."

The two leaders "had a good discussion" about Ontario's request for federal support for Ring of Fire development, Wynne said.

They agreed to remain in touch on an "ongoing basis" on the issues they discussed, Wynne said.

Harper and Wynne did not appear to discuss pension plans -- a major bone of contention that has led to the two trading public jabs. …

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