It is possible to imagine a situation in which it would be useful for the premiers to meet, just as it is possible to conceive of a reason why anyone should pay them the slightest attention [but just barely]. ...
[They could discuss taking action in many areas]:
... the hundreds of inter-provincial trade barriers that still disfigure the landscape... to stop their professional bodies from discriminating against those who have received their training elsewhere.
... to allow each other’s oil and hydroelectricity to cross their soil without being held to ransom.
The Premiers ought to be embarrassed. They've made a joke of their meetings. It's hardly much wonder why Harper ignores their invitations. He'd have to be nuts to attend.... to put their budgets on the same system of accounts, so the public could have some idea of how much they were spending, relative to each other.These would all justify the premiers meeting. ... there is nothing to prevent the premiers from doing any of these. Because, you see, they all have the inestimable advantage of being within the premiers’ jurisdiction. ... It isn’t just that they almost never agree to anything that is in their power to do ... They barely even talk about it.
Instead, they talk about the feds: what Ottawa should do, how much money it should spend, and on what. On this, let it be said, they have no trouble agreeing. ... And, of all the things the premiers might think to suggest the federal government spend more on, what do you supposed tops their list? Why yes: themselves.
... And when they have finished all this — when they are done writing Ottawa’s budget, and amending the Criminal Code, and drafting federal safety regulations, and demanding to be consulted on everything under the sun — the premiers use whatever time they have left to complain about federal interference.