Mayor Nenshi apologizes to Ontario Premier for 'petulant behaviour' in the legislature
Published Friday, May 27, 2016 5:23AM MDT Last Updated Friday, May 27, 2016 6:54PM MDT
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met with Calgary's mayor on Friday as part of her mission to build on ties between her province and Alberta and Nenshi started the meeting by apologizing for the 'childish' behavior she was shown in the legislature on Thursday.
Wynne’s visit to the city comes a day after she met with Premier Notley in Edmonton, where the two announced they would be working together on strategies to manage climate change.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two provinces, pledging to pursue clean energy technology to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.
Both governments will be looking at ways to cut emissions in the areas of transportation and natural resource production.
The two premiers also spoke about the future of pipelines in Canada and other projects, including a solar array facility in southern Alberta that will create 500 jobs and will open in two years.
“We expect today’s memorandum of understanding to result in similar successful investments which will benefit both of our provinces, our economies and our environment,” Notley said on Thursday.
But Wynne's welcome wasn't cheered by everyone in the Legislature.
When the premier was introduced on Thursday, she did receive applause from members, but most of the Wildrose members remained seated, including leader Brian Jean.
To make matters worse, Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt questioned the value the meeting between the two premiers had for Alberta.
"Today, we welcomed Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to the Legislative Assembly. While I am sure their talk session was valuable, we aren't sure what benefit Albertans can get from Ontario's emissions plan. For power consumers it's meant skyrocketing power bills, massive subsidies to unprofitable initiatives and Auditor General's reports into billions in wasted tax dollars.
"A few months ago, our premier praised the Ontario plan. Is the premier still endorsing this plan and, if so, what part does she think will benefit Albertans?"
On Friday morning, Wynne met with Mayor Nenshi and spoke with him in his office about a number of issues.
Nenshi says he didn't agree with the sentiment expressed by the Wildrose.
"This first thing I did today was apologize on behalf of all the people of Calgary for the childish, petulant behaviour in the Legislature yesterday. Albertans are more polite than that. We treat guests with courtesy and particularly, when we are talking about issues of national importance like pipelines, we treat guests with courtesy. I was quite surprised to see the so-called shadow finance minister who has yet to reveal any shadow budget or any ideas whatsoever about the province treat a guest in that matter and I did apologize."
Nenshi said that Wynne told him that she was fine with the criticism, going so far as to say she is used to dealing with such comments in her own legislature.
The lone Liberal in the legislature, David Swann, also apologized to Wynne as well on Friday.
"The behaviour of some members of the official Opposition leaves me shocked and saddened," Swann said in a statement.
"The treatment of Ms. Wynne -- the legislature's guest of honour -- showed the worst form of partisan politics and was utterly against not only tradition, but common decency."
Meanwhile, Nenshi said that he and Wynne also spoke about pipelines, climate change and particularly pressed her on clarifying her conditions about the controversial Energy East pipeline.
"She reiterated that she is in favour of that pipeline but those principles must be met."
Nenshi says they also discussed other energy sources such as natural gas and electricity, in particular Ontario's experience in shutting down coal and what Alberta can learn from that.
He also added that Wynne brought up a topic that he has been very enthusiastic about.
"Very interestingly, she was very interested in talking about a new tripartite relationship between provinces, citiies and the federal government to look at how to build infrastructure," Nenshi said. "I hope that that's something that other premiers will also press at the Council of the Federation of Businesses this summer."
Following a tour of the GE Customer Innovation Centre in Calgary, Wynne will met with business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce.
Wynne, during a speech to business leaders, said that Ontario and Alberta no longer see each other as "rivals"
She said that her thoughts are still with the victims of the Fort McMurray wildfire. Ontario has been very supportive in the fight against the blaze, sending a number of firefighters to aid the effort and holding numerous fundraisers for the Red Cross.
(With files from The Canadian Press)