Economy, marijuana and court delays fill agenda for meeting of the premiers in Edmonton – Edmonton

When premiers and territorial leaders gather for their annual summer meeting in Edmonton this week, they’ll compare strategies on trade relations with the United States, grapple with the tight timelines of legal marijuana sales, and consider what to do about lengthy court delays. 

The Council of the Federation, or COF, is a once-a-year meeting that brings together Canada’s most influential political leaders to seek common ground and common strategies.

“It will not be a mid-summer meet and greet,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who is chairing the meeting for the first time.  

“It will be a mid-summer ‘we have a whole heck of a lot of work to do,’ ” Notley added.

Economy to top agenda

Topping the agenda for the two-day meeting is the economy.

David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, will brief the premiers on emerging issues such as NAFTA and the softwood lumber trade dispute, according to Notley.

“That will be a key piece,” said Notley, adding the premiers will then address the challenge of implementing the sale and use of legalized marijuana.

“It is a very big job,” she said.

“We’ve told the federal government that we will do everything we can to be ready but we are not promising that it will happen,” the premier said.

The gathering will attract interest groups and lobbyists from across Canada, hoping to steal a moment with political decision-makers.

While there have been improvements in the Alberta economy, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce says it’s troubling that downtown offices in Calgary are still pretty quiet. (Supplied)

Ken Kobly, president and CEO of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, says he hopes the premiers concentrate on trade, jobs and business.

“If there are any changes they’re going to make or any new ideas they’re coming up with, what’s going to be the impact on business, particularly small business?” said Kobly.

Although he sees signs the economy is recovering in…

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