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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