British Columbia

Ontario Premier McGuinty pulls out of Vancouver meeting

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is leaving the annual first ministers gathering in Vancouver to attend to forest fires burning across a large swath of his province.

Premiers focus on economy at Thursday meeting

B.C. Premier Christy Clark, left, speaks with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty during a meeting of the premiers and First Nations leaders at the annual premiers conference in Vancouver on Wednesday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is leaving the annual first ministers gathering in Vancouver to attend to the forest fires burning across a large swath of his province.

Earlier, B.C. Premier Christy Clark said the premiers and territorial leaders were planning to discuss trade with Asia and health care issues during the second day of the Council of the Federation meeting.

Wednesday's session with First Nations leaders from across Canada ended with an agreement the premiers would call a future meeting to discuss aboriginal education.    

Discussions also included plans for further talks about aboriginal economic development, emergency preparedness and a deeper look at the issue of missing women.

Premiers focus on Asia-Pacific

Meanwhile, the rest of the country's premiers say they want to ensure Canada seizes the economic opportunities of being part of the Asia-Pacific.

Premier Christy Clark said the provincial leaders spent part of the day Thursday discussing how they can capitalize on trade opportunities with Asia.

"Notably, every premier really seized on the idea of making Canada an Asia-Pacific country, even more than it is today," she said. "All the way from British Columbia to P.E.I., people were talking about how we can seize this incredible generational opportunity."

Clark said the council members may discuss human rights later in the meeting, and she believes they will improve by engaging more with that country.

She said Asia has the fastest growing middle class, and 20 years from now it will account for 60 per cent of the world's middle class.   

The 3-day conference ends on Friday.