A decade of frosty relations with Ottawa is certainly over.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a rock-star welcome for a historic visit to Vancouver City Hall.
The City of Vancouver’s relationship is different with Ottawa, now that Justin Trudeau is in office.
“I’m excited as I always am to be back here in Vancouver. As you know, it was home to me for many years, and still very much is a second home to me.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was all smiles as he took to the podium with Mayor Gregor Robertson.
It’s the first time a sitting Prime Minister has made the visit since his father in 1973.
And while there wasn’t anything in the form of new announcements, the trip was heavy on symbolism, marking a departure from the frosty relationship Stephen Harper had with Robertson.
“We want to be a partner with municipalities on creating the opportunities for growth and better quality of life for Canadians on transit and on housing, and that’s what we’re engaging on.”
Robertson presented Trudeau with a small present, a photograph of his father making his visit 42 years ago with former Mayor Art Phillips.
The message was one of change. In particular, how the federal government works with cities on issues like transportation.
“We don’t feel that Ottawa should be dictating what particular transit project is going to be needed by the people in Vancouver. The people to figure that best are here.”
Now Vancouver must wait to see if Trudeau delivers on promises like building a Broadway subway line, which requires change to the current funding formula.
Justin Trudeau talks marijuana regulation at Vancouver City Hall
Trudeau was asked about Vancouver’s attempts to regulating medical marijuana dispensaries.
“Obviously the Criminal Code will need to be adjusted if we’re going to control and regulate, and that’s something the federal government will do, but when it comes to distribution, when it comes to selling and engaging, obviously the provinces and indeed the municipalities will have to be an integral part of that discussion.”
It’s music to Robertson’s ears.
“We’ve had to undertake regulation of the dispensaries because there were no thoughtful controls coming from Ottawa, historically.”
In terms of other hot-button local issues like housing and transportation, Trudeau says Vancouver and other cities have a “partner” in Ottawa.
(Photos by Anna Kalfa)