Couillard says Ontario and Quebec will lead way on climate change

Quebec premier calls Ontario plan to join a cap-and-trade system under the Western Climate Initiative ‘excellent news’

TORONTO — Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says putting a price on carbon is a logical choice because the cost of doing nothing to battle climate change will be even greater.

In an historic speech to the Ontario legislature, the first by a Quebec premier in more than 50 years, Couillard called Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plan to join a cap-and-trade system under the Western Climate Initiative “excellent news.”

He said Ontario, Quebec and California will create the largest carbon market in North America and “have good reasons to hope that others will follow suit.”

Couillard and Wynne have banded together to press Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take more action to deal with climate change.

Speaking in both English and French, Couillard called the two provinces “natural allies,” and said central Canada is an economic and political force to be reckoned with.

Couillard also said co-operation between the two provincial Liberal governments is generating “promising leads” on expanding inter-provincial trade and growing the economy, and said Quebec wants strong relations with all provinces.

“The government I lead firmly believes that Quebec progresses when it seeks to unite rather than divide,” he said. “When it participates rather than excluding itself. Above all, when it builds bridges with its partners in the federation rather than putting up walls.”

The last premier from another province to address the Ontario legislature was Quebec’s Jean Lesage in 1964.

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