Harper to Meet Quebec’s Couillard in Courtesy Call

Federal and provincial sources have confirmed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to travel to Quebec to meet the province’s new Premier, Philippe Couillard, on Thursday. The meeting is anticipated to highlight the importance of Philippe Couillard’s victory on relations with Ottawa. Mr. Couillard is expected to be sworn in as Quebec’s 31st premier on Wednesday.

The meeting between the premier-to-be and the prime minster is much anticipated as both sides want to put an end to the chill that characterized the dealings of the province’s previous Parti Québécois government. A provincial official alleged that “on both sides, people want to see a thaw in Ottawa-Quebec relations” and added that “of late, it had been going nowhere.” The meeting is expected to take place alongside the Gala Triomphe, i.e. a sporting awards event in Quebec City that will feature Mayor Régis Labeaume, athletes and the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Marcel Aubut.

The much-awaited meeting between the two officials is termed as a courtesy call that will aim to ensure smoother relations between the two governments over the long term. According to a provincial source, a more in-depth encounter is expected take place at a later date because “this first meeting will happen as part of another event. It will be the first opportunity to establish a contact with Mr. Harper soon after the government takes power.” It was added that “economic issues and jobs will dominate discussions, especially our maritime program that will need federal involvement.”

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