Justin Trudeau, Kathleen Wynne say Ottawa needs to be involved in greenhouse gas reduction

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne say the federal government should leave it up to the provinces to decide what carbon-pricing policy works best, but still want Ottawa to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon pricing should be left to provinces, Liberal leaders agree

Wynne, Trudeau on carbon pricing

9 years ago
Duration 2:37
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau respond the questions on carbon pricing from the CBC's Margo McDiarmid.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne say the federal government should leave it up to the provinces to decide what carbon-pricing policy works best, but still want Ottawa to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Wynne and Trudeau met Thursday, a day before Canada's provincial and territorial premiers were set to gather in Ottawa. 

"Provinces are stepping forward with solutions to price carbon and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Trudeau said during a joint news conference after his meeting with Wynne.

"But that doesn't absolve the federal government from needing to step up and ... taking on its responsibilities in terms of addressing and attacking climate change."

Wynne also said there is a role for the federal government when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

"Within the context of the country, having each province doing what it can ... is extremely important.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met in Ottawa on Thursday to discuss carbon pricing, investments in infrastructure, Ontario's Ring of Fire and the need for the prime minister to meet with premiers as a group. (Susana Mas/CBC News)
"I also believe and I'm not going to give up on the idea that we would have a federal government that would be engaged ... in taking a position on the world stage in terms of reductions of greenhouse gas emissions," Wynne said.

The Ontario premier did not say what type of carbon pricing model she prefers.

Energy East pipeline

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant was also in Ottawa Thursday, where he emphasized the importance of the Energy East pipeline.

"This is a project that we support," Gallant said during a midday news conference. "This is a project that we think is going to help us with our agenda of creating jobs and growing the economy. And for us it's important that we realize that because this is an inter-provincial project, that we have to work with our partners across the country."

Gallant said he thought all provinces could benefit, directly and indirectly, from the pipeline.

Asked how putting a price on carbon would fit into the project, Gallant said those are separate issues.

"I think we have to have two separate conversations. One, there's no doubt that as a nation we have a better job when it comes to climate change."

"On top of that, we also have to have a conversation about developing our economy throughout the country in a responsible way."

Wynne and Trudeau said they also talked about the need for a stronger "economic union" in Canada, investments in infrastructure, Ontario's Ring of Fire mining zone and the need for the prime minister to meet with premiers as a group.

Wynne will also meet privately with U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde on Thursday.

Bellegarde met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa on Wednesday in what the Prime Minister's Office described as "a very positive first meeting."

Premiers meet Friday

Premiers will gather in the nation's capital to discuss energy, skills training, barriers to internal trade and the need to get more infrastructure money from the feds.

Harper, who has skipped these Council of the Federation meetings for years, will not be attending even though the meeting is being held just a few blocks from his office.

Despite the prime minister's reluctance to hold annual first ministers meetings, Harper kicked off 2015 with a face-to-face meeting with Wynne while he was in Toronto. He also met with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Paul Davis in Ottawa in December and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice in October.

Prentice won't be in Ottawa on Friday, choosing instead to send Diana McQueen, his municipal affairs minister, as he focuses on the upcoming provincial budget. 

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall will participate by teleconference.

B.C.'s Christy Clark said she'll represent the western provinces where the impact of sliding oil prices on the economy is expected to be a key topic.

"I'm the only western premier going," Clark said adding "I'll be advancing the interests of western Canada and B.C. when I'm there."

With files from The Canadian Press