The premiers are upset because they're not getting enough love from Ottawa.
Canada's premiers and territorial leaders are convening in Halifax this week for the annual Council of the Federation, a.k.a. the premiers' conference.
And once again, for the third straight year, Stephen Harper is invited but won't be attending.
During the Mulroney and Chretien eras, first ministers' conferences were commonplace as Ottawa sought provincial input on matters relating to health care, social programs, job creation, and the economy.
[ Related: N.S. premier finds Ottawa's aloofness 'troubling' ]
But Harper seems to have a different philosophy.
Nova Scotia Premier Darrel Dexter says that has been a bone of contention for some of the premiers.
"There is a fair amount of consternation about the question of engagement between the federal government and the provinces ... That's going to be a very lively topic for this meeting," he told the Canadian Press.
"The federal government needs us to deliver the services that are of most importance to Canadians and, at some point, they have to come to us and discuss how that's going to take place."
Conservative strategist Tim Powers, however, says these kinds of meetings amount to political theatre, and that Harper should continue to stay away because in the end, they're just a way to beat-up on the prime minister.
"As these events used to unfold they effectively became big rah rah sessions or gang-up sessions and I think you'd be hard pressed to find great achievements that have come out of these massive federal/provincial/territorial meetings," he told CBC Radio's The House.
"It's hard to see them as substantive vehicles that make the lives of Canadians any better."
The conference begins on Wednesday.
What's on the agenda for the premiers:
- Premier Robert Ghiz of Prince Edward Island will present a report on innovations in health care as provinces grapple with aging populations and declining dollars.
- The premiers and territorial leaders will try to forge a pan-Canadian energy plan that would form a common approach to developing, marketing and sustaining energy resources.
- AFN chief Sean Atleo is expected to address the Council.
- The premiers are also expected to discuss federal/provincial equalization payments and transfers.