A highly publicized face-to-face meeting between the prime minister and Ontario's premier ended with the premier shrugging off suggestions of a growing rift between the two leaders of different political stripes.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a good get-together Thursday night in what was described as the pair's first formal one-on-one conversation since Harper's election win in January.
McGuinty said the two mostly discussed the premier's favourite topic when it comes to Ottawa: a so-called fiscal imbalance that has Ontario contributing more to federal coffers and equalization payments to have-not provinces, than it gets back in federal services.
Harper's minority Conservative government has committed to meeting with all premiers on how the provinces share money to cover post-secondary education, health care and other needs.
But the Liberal premier rejected suggestions he's facing difficulty getting Harper's attention, or that the two are at odds - even though Harper's visit with McGuinty differed sharply from recent meetings with other premiers - most notably Quebec's Jean Charest, a former federal Conservative leader.
While Harper and Charest got together during at least one meeting for a handshake and photo opportunity, the prime minister avoided any chance of being seen publicly alongside McGuinty, whose province voted largely Liberal in January's federal election. (source)