Harper to meet Marois today; may announce infrastructure project

Associated Press

ESTEREL, Que. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be in Quebec today for a private meeting with Premier Pauline Marois.

It will be their second meeting since the Parti Quebecois leader became premier last September.

They will appear in Levis, across the river from Quebec City, reportedly to announce funding for an infrastructure project there.

But they won't be holding a joint news conference as Marois has refused to play along with the prime minister's rules for tightly controlled question-and-answer sessions.

The leaders will instead make a joint statement before the meeting.

A spokesman for Harper has downplayed the issue, saying a joint media availability with a premier is a rare occurrence, reserved only for major announcements.

According to Marois’ entourage, the prime minister’s communications team proposed they follow the Ottawa practice of taking questions from just four journalists and asking for their names in advance.

Marois’ office said no. The custom in the Quebec legislature is far more spontaneous, where politicians face a number of follow-up questions and are sometimes repeatedly challenged if they won’t offer a complete answer.

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