Prime Minister Stephen Harper played host as he welcomed Canada’s first ministers to dinner at his new home on Friday, February 24.
The now famous prime-ministerial address, located on 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, was the setting for an evening of political parley. The conversation included parboiled discourse on the hot-topic of Canadian immigration.
The get-together was described by Harper as more “about dinner – not dollars” however; it gave the premiers a chance to talk business. Harper let the provincial leaders know that he hopes to work co-operatively with the provinces as he implements his own agenda, said one premier.
Harper reiterated his promise that the Conservative government will work with Canadian provinces to help immigrants have their foreign credentials recognized in Canada.
“That’s one of things Harper raised last night as an issue that he would like us to collaborate with him on […],” Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty explained.
The night was a notable one for McGuinty. At a Liberal Party convention the next day, he would go on to announce that Harper had given written assurances regarding Ontario’s landmark billion-dollar (plus) immigration deal.
The Conservative promise allayed any fears that the newly-elected government would rescind on an agreement signed by the defeated Liberal Goverment. The deal has over a billion dollars, over six years, going to the province. The money will fund various settlement initiatives and will help newly-landed Canadians better establish themselves in Canada. “We have those commitments now; it’s just a matter of ensuring that he delivers on those,” McGuinty said.