Little results from first ministers' meeting, but at least nobody stormed out

The pro-pipeline ad that is being run in Montreal newspapers

The pro-pipeline ad that is being run in Montreal newspapers

Premiers arrived Thursday for a first ministers' meeting still grumbling about the agenda set by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with one - Ontario's Doug Ford - threatening to walk out if the program isn't expanded to reflect a host of provincial priorities.

But other premiers, including fellow Conservative Brian Pallister from Manitoba, disputed Ford's interpretation of what the prime minister said behind closed doors in Montreal and Trudeau himself dismissed the charge.

Federal officials have privately conceded that little headway is likely to be made on the official objective of the meeting: reducing interprovincial trade barriers.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs wants to revive the Energy East pipeline, while Quebec Premier François Legault says there's no way Quebec will support such an idea. "Yesterday, I had the opportunity to discuss it with Mr. Trudeau. That's what we wanted and that's what we got".

The major theme of that 2015 first ministers meeting was on the need to step up Canada's efforts on the environment.

Still Ford and Trudeau left the meetings accusing each other of changing course on emissions reduction goals and undermining each other's plans.

Speaking at the Edmonton airport before flying to Quebec, she noted that forecasts for Canada's economic growth are already more muted because of the low price Alberta is getting for its oil.

Notley also said she doesn't want to spend time listening to what the federal government says it is already doing to try to address Alberta's concerns.

"I am pleased to say that the vast majority, if not all, supported what I had to say", Notley said. "We don't need federal ministers to explain to us what they've already done".

"All of sudden, we have a little surprise in the room. I've got to be frank on that".

Ford said he was looking forward to Friday's meeting but, after his tete-a-tete with Trudeau, he refused to answer reporters' questions about whether walking away from the table is still an option.

"He said some provinces are going to have to reduce it more because other provinces like Alberta, won't be able to hit it", Ford told reporters regarding the 2030 targets.

In the days leading up to the meeting, reports circulated that the premiers were unhappy with the prime minister's agenda, which focused on trade and didn't explicitly mention issues of concern to them, including Alberta's struggling energy sector, federal environmental assessment legislation or the federal carbon tax.

The Alberta government's position has hardened against the federal government's Bill C-69, another sign of the change in its relationship with Ottawa.

"We have to acknowledge that pollution should not be free anywhere in Canada".

It appears Trudeau had managed to smooth things over somewhat with a pleasant dinner with the premiers at a Montreal restaurant Thursday night.

But the fight dwindled to nothing nearly as soon as it had started, with other premiers saying Trudeau hadn't changed anything.

"It could be a never-ending list I guess but there's probably six or eight issues that we want to be sure to have discussion (on)", he said.

Despite some of the pre-meeting theatrics, sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly, also said Ford spoke only several times during the meeting and did not bother to use his translation device when French was spoken.

Moe said he also wants to talk about his demand that the feds repeal Bill C-69, legislation to re-write the rules for environmental assessments of energy projects, which is now stalled in the Senate.

The ad says the pipeline delay means less investment in infrastructure, less investment in green energy and fewer jobs for Canadians.

"Each of these things on their own doesn't sound like a big deal but they add up and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of these types of impediments to our ability to do business with each other and shouldn't be there", he said.