Ontario and Québec Issue Statement after Bilateral Meeting
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Québec Premier Philippe Couillard issued the following statement while in British Columbia for the Council of the Federation Winter Meeting and the First Ministers' Meeting:
"Ontario and Québec have a strong partnership based on our shared priorities of growing the economy and creating jobs. Today's bilateral meeting about climate change focused on how we can reduce emissions while maintaining a competitive business environment and prosperous economy.
Ontario and Québec are already working together on initiatives that are helping our provinces transition to sustainable low-carbon economies. Our cap-and-trade programs will help to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and by focusing on clean technologies, we are creating jobs in both regions and ensuring our provinces can thrive in the coming years. In Ontario's 2016 Budget, the province took the next steps to move forward with its plan to link its cap-and-trade program with Québec's under the Western Climate Initiative and invest all proceeds into green projects.
We are pleased that the federal government is working towards a pan-Canadian framework for climate change. Such a framework would help Canada achieve its international and national commitments and build a more diverse, resilient and innovative economy from coast to coast to coast.
It is important that we stand together on the issues that connect economic growth and climate change -- issues that link communities all across Canada. Ontario and Québec will continue working with the provinces, territories and the federal government to find solutions that create jobs and growth across Canada while preserving and protecting the environment.
Premiers also talked about the need to act rapidly on the economy. They agreed that the new federal infrastructure funds need to be allocated on a per capita basis for projects that reduce GHG emissionsand have the potential to be a key driver of Canada's economic growth by supporting priorities of the provinces and territories. Projects in fields such as public transit are also a critical factor in the fight against climate change.
With a combined population of over 20 million, Ontario and Québec form the largest economic region of Canada, and our provinces have enjoyed a strong relationship over the years thanks to our shared history, geography and economies. Ontario and Québec remain committed to collaborating on climate change initiatives that will help to create an innovative economy that benefits people and businesses, now and in the future.
We look forward to further discussions on these important issues at the Council of the Federation Winter Meeting and the First Ministers' Meeting, and future meetings with Indigenous partners and the National Aboriginal Organizations."