Twas the night before First Ministermas, and all through the city …

(I couldn’t find a rhyme to finish that ditty.)

Anyway, does anyone else think that tomorrow’s meeting has the potential to create some serious political awkwardness for Jean Charest, who is – as far as I know – the first premier to attend a First Ministers’ event – summit, conference, whatever –  while in the midst of an election campaign?

I mean, in the past, prime ministers have occasionally been required to leave the country during a federal election to meet with other world leaders, but that’s a little different; it’s a rare G8 summit, after all,  that is actually supposed to produce results – if they manage to agree on a reasonably positive joint statement, and nobody has declared war on anyone else, it’s usually considered a success. But this is supposed to be the first step in the Prime Minister’s master plan to shelter the Canadian economy from the ongoing global financial crisis, which would seem to put considerably more pressure on both Ottawa and the provinces to come out with something a little more tangible than an agreement to make a commitment to work together to cooperate on studying ways to move foward. That’s especially true, one would think, for the premier of a province like Quebec, which has been soundly wallopped by the most recent flailings within the auto sector, with a cranky and volatile electorate that can turn on a party overnight, as we saw during the last federal election.

Charest has only himself to blame for the situation, of course — he’s the one who decided to drop the writ, even though the meeting was announced weeks ago. But you have to wonder what kind of effect it will have on the dynamics around the table tomorrow afternoon, particularly between Charest and the Prime Minister, who may still be nursing a grudge over the outcome of his most recent roll of the electoral dice.

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