EDMONTON – Things are much more cozy between the premiers of Alberta and Ontario now that talk of "petro dollars" and $100-a-barrel oil are behind them.
Wednesday's unheralded dinner between Alberta's PC Premier Alison Redford and Ontario's Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty went well at the Windsor Arms in Toronto, with talk of health-care fee structures, the economy and a Canadian Energy Strategy, Redford said Thursday.
"What I've always said — and what he's supported — is that a Canadian Energy Strategy makes a difference for Canada's economy, so that was nice to come to some consensus on that," said Redford.
McGuinty was reportedly upbeat following Wednesday's dinner meet, which came days before next week's Council of Federation meeting of premiers in Halifax.
In February, McGuinty pulled back on harder-line comments about Alberta's "petro dollar" and standing by eastern manufacturing over Alberta oil.
Then, he compared Canada's 10 provinces to his family of 10 kids, saying they need to "play to (their) own strengths."
Asked about a Canadian Energy Strategy, McGuinty seemed to want to school Albertans on the environment, saying he was interested in one that incorporated a "clean energy strategy."
Back in Edmonton, Redford was optimistic on the looming Council of Federation meet-up.
Asked if she and McGuinty would be allies against federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair's attacks, Redford focused on interprovincial alliances.
"Regardless of what (Mulcair) might say, what we have is a lot of premiers coming together in Halifax next week who, I think, are very excited about prospects for the future and we know that Canada has come out of this recent economic downturn quite well," she said.
"We want to be sure we are able to sustain that and keep growing the economy and working together, so I think that we have a lot of common interests."