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Alberta’s premier-designate meets with big city mayors

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta’s premier-designate met with both Edmonton and Calgary mayors today, hoping to start dialogue on big city issues. Kendra Slugoski reports.

EDMONTON – Premier-Designate Jim Prentice is meeting with the mayors of both Edmonton and Calgary on Tuesday.

Prentice met with Don Iveson early Tuesday afternoon at City Hall for what Edmonton’s mayor called a productive meeting.

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Iveson and Prentice discussed a number of issues, including better financial support for crime prevention and affordable housing. Both say the lunch hour meeting hosted a very good discussion.

“We had a really exceptional meeting,” said Prentice.

“I think the theme was partnership, overall,” said Iveson.

“We talked about everything from how do we enable kids in this city – whether they’re children of refugees or whether they’re First Nations kids, or whether they’re children experiencing intergenerational poverty – how do we give those kids a chance to be successful, to be productive in this labour market that we need in the future, to draw less on health care costs, to require less of our policing service, how a real partnership between the cities and the province can help advance those kinds of objectives.”

LRT and transportation issues were also discussed.

“I was struck by the number of things that we strongly agree upon,” said Prentice.

“You’ll certainly see a new spirit of partnership from the get-go,” he added. “You’ll see a pathway forward in terms of a road map that we’re going to work on.”

The premier-designate emphasized that he has lived in Edmonton during two periods of his life, and will have a residence in the capital city as he’s serving as premier.

Prentice will head to Calgary to meet with Mayor Naheed Nenshi later Tuesday afternoon.

Just days before the Alberta PC leadership vote, both mayors came out with strong words for the candidates, calling on the province’s next leaders to set a clear policy when it comes to dealing with big city issues.

READ MORE: PC leadership hopefuls react to criticism from Edmonton, Calgary mayors 

“It’s kind of like when a parent realizes that their son or daughter has grown up and is also an adult and that they can have a grown up conversation with them. It still sort of feels like the provincial government looks at us like we’re their children,” Iveson said September 3.

“It’s time the provincial government come to the table and have a grown up conversation about some of these challenges that stand in the way of Edmonton’s long-term success.”

Following Tuesday’s meeting, Iveson was asked how he would describe the conversation.

“I think we had a very good conversation,” said Edmonton’s mayor.

“I would say the level of debate has gone up.”

“We had the first round of a very grown up conversation and I’m optimistic about where we’re going to take it from here.”

Prior to Saturday’s vote, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi was also critical, blasting all three leadership candidates for what he called their lack of vision.

“While they commit to working with municipalities to move forward, they are incredibly light on actual policy recommendations. And I must say I’m surprised by this,” Nenshi said Wednesday.

Until Tuesday, Iveson had yet to sit down with Prentice to discuss issues such as funding for infrastructure, big city policing and poverty elimination.

Nenshi said he had met with all three candidates in July.

“I’m delighted to sit down with Mayor Iveson and Mayor Nenshi,” said Prentice on September 4. “They need a new partnership with the provincial government. I’ve been very clear in essentially every speech I’ve given that they need exactly that. These are two vibrant, confident, great cities — the envy of North America — and they need a partnership with the provincial government.”

Following Prentice’s win Saturday evening, both Iveson and Nenshi sent out congratulatory messages on 桑拿会所.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, Iveson said he and Prentice would be meeting again shortly.

Premier-designate Prentice will be on the Global Edmonton Morning News on Wednesday at 7 a.m.

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