NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. - The premiers of Quebec and Ontario are vowing to work together to restore Central Canada's traditional influence with the rest of the country, especially on economic growth.
Premier Philippe Couillard says he remembers when Robert Bourassa and David Peterson had a close bond and acted "as a block of influence" in Canada.
Speaking entirely in English at the Ontario Economic Summit in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Couillard said he and Kathleen Wynne hope to recreate that close relationship between Canada's two most populous provinces.
He said they want to "put Central Canada back at the centre of the map."
Couillard, who led the Liberals to a majority victory in the provincial election in April, said his message is clear: "Quebec is back at the table, not on the sidelines but sitting at the table, which means sometimes that it will voice strongly its opinion, but as a partner in the country trying to contribute."
Wynne told the business audience that having Ontario and Quebec rebuild their close connection will be vital to the economic prosperity of both provinces and the entire country.
"Being more than 50 per cent of the GDP of this country, and 60 per cent of the federal revenues, it's hard to argue that Ontario and Quebec are not critical to the health of the country," said Wynne. "There is no percentage for anyone within Ontario and Quebec or outside to write us off."