Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and other premiers are criticizing Prime Minister Stephen Harper for passing up a chance to co-operate on a national economic strategy with provincial leaders this week.
“I think we’re all disappointed that we couldn’t get an opportunity to meet with the prime minister and to build a strong plan for economic growth together,” McGuinty said in Toronto on Tuesday.
“We will do our very best,” he said of the premiers’ meeting. “We’ll see what it is we might be able to do by way of a concerted effort.”
Provincial premiers and territorial leaders gather in Halifax on Thursday and Friday at a time when the struggling economy is threatened by deteriorating business conditions in Europe and a potential U.S. economic meltdown.
But Harper’s office confirmed Tuesday he won’t accept the premiers’ invitation to attend.
McGuinty suggested Harper is missing an opportunity to follow up on a deal reached during the last recession in which federal and provincial governments agreed to invest in economic stimulus.
“We’ve now entered into a period of prolonged slow growth and I think we could do better by developing some broader policies, acting in concert with the federal government, whether that’s by way of stimulus or, I think, particularly investing in innovation and higher levels of skills and education would be very helpful to all of us.”