Ottawa to provinces: Know your place

Environment Minister Jim Prentice says Ottawa should be free to handle global climate change talks


Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice lashed out at provincial officials who criticized Canada’s work at the Copenhagen climate summit, suggesting the provinces will have to fall in line behind Ottawa’s “leadership.” Ontario and Quebec both suggested the federal government wasn’t committing to sufficiently stringent emissions caps, with Quebec Premier Jean Charest saying provinces would have the legal authority to branch out on their own should the federal government fail to negotiate a suitable deal. “There is no doubt that some of the comments that were made have been divisive,” Prentice told CTV’s Question Period Sunday. “I think wiser heads will prevail and we have a lot of work to do.” Prentice added the provinces should be mindful not to interfere with the federal government’s with its global partners on climate change. “When we’re on the international stage, Canadians need to bear in mind that we’re there as a country, speaking as a country.”

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Ottawa to provinces: Know your place

  1. Next step, fire the Premiers of BC, Ontario and Quebec, and the Mayor of Toronto, and replace them with co-operative puppets.

    • Ahh, the Afghanistan model. What could possibly go wrong?

  2. "Ottawa to provinces: Know your place"

    That's a perfectly objective and professional headline. Just kidding, it's atrociously unprofessional and hideously childish.

    "Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice lashed out at.. "

    So was that. The scare quotes around leadership was a nice touch. Honestly, if you turned over the Maclean's newsroom to the Liberal Party of Canada for a week they could scarcely be more partisan than the current bunch here.

    • I mostly agree with your description of the headline. You unfortunately failed to note that it is also an accurate description of the Harper governmnents position. When reporting on an atrociously unprofessional and hideously childish government your reports and headlines must by reflect the nature of the subject of your coverage.

      • seeing clearly sez: "It's the Conservatives' fault that we have an unprofessional media."

        Really? Well ain't that a corker. I thought it was the Pope's fault.

        Just kidding, you're ridiculous.

  3. It's old news. If the provinces feel that they can hit loftier targets, they are free to do so. The federal standard is the minimal standard and always has been.

  4. Would that be the same Ontario government whose Premier cut the ribbon at the opening of a Camaro production line at the GM Plant a couple of years ago? Just wondering.

    • Would that be the same Environment Minister representing a province that under no circumstances wants anything to do with emissions reductions?

      • Would this be the Andrew that doesn't have a clue about Alberta's environmental policies?

  5. McGuinty bends over and bites its lip on a weekly basis from the feds. The funny part is that the little leagers in Queens park think its the other way around. In four short years Harper has completely dminished McGuinty’s ability to establish his own agenda in Ontario. They won’t realize it until Hudak becomes premiere under Harpers all powerful guiding hand.

    • You are right. The Federal government has completed disabled Ontario's premier from enacting his own agenda.

      And here I thought Dalton's bumbling government was Dalton's own fault!

  6. I think the point of the article was not to upstage the Federal Government during an international convention. We could also add to the list, Jack Layton and David Miller. I was appalled at the willingness of the MP for Toronto-Danforth and the Mayor of Toronto to join in the shenanigans of the fossil awards. I am sure a lot of the "embarrassing Canada" stories came from these two leaked to the very willing press.

    • There are two problems that I see with this. One is that the federal government sees international conferences as an opportunity to gain an advantage over their political opponents. To the Conservatives, everything is political.

      The other is that the Conservative viewpoint isn't necessarily the viewpoint of a majority of Canada's citizens – which isn't surprising, given that the Harper government was elected with less than 40% of the popular vote. If the Conservatives attempt to claim that Canada's position on issues such as climate change is identical to the Conservatives' position on these issues, it follows that dissenting viewpoints will make themselves known.

  7. I'll remember that lovely 'one country' speech the next time I read Stephen Harper's "firewall" article.

  8. Yes, it would have been so much better if the Ontario and Quebec premiers had written letters to the Wall Street Journal demonstrating their "disappointment" of the Canadian Governments decision on Climate Control like our esteemed prime minister did when in opposition in response to Chretien's decision not to send troops to Iraq.

  9. The problem Prentice has to appreciate is that while the federal government has the right to enter treaties, it cannot unilaterally demand provinces surrender their own authority. This is why the "federal state clause" was created.

    The disposition of natural resources is a provincial responsibility, as is healthcare. A province like Alberta is under no more constitutional obligation to shut down its oil and gas exploration following a Kyoto-style deal than a province like Quebec would be required to shut down its public healthcare system and instead create a fully private system with tax exempt status merely because the Prime Minister signs a piece of paper overseas.

    The U.S. President requires Senate approval to ratify treaties, which is why on occasion a President (Clinton) will make a big deal about signing a major binding treaty confident the opposing party in the Senate (and factions of his own) can 'back him out of it'. The federal government isn't so lucky: they have to ensure that the treaties they ratify have the support of the provinces necessary to implement it. Sorry Jim, you can sign all the treaties you want but none of them give you the power to become federal Environment Minister and Ontario Minister of Industry and Alberta Minister of Energy simultaneously.

  10. I wonder what the comments would be had the Prime Minister committed Canada to a 26 billion dollar payout to "undeveloped nations" based on the pressure from some of Canada's concerned politicians, McGuinty, Charest and Miller. All huge phonies in their own rite.

  11. would be a heck of a scrap…the provinces against the feds and/or vice versa…the beginning of the end of this federalist state…

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