03/16/2012 10:37 EDT | Updated 05/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Quebec Minister Talks Cap And Trade


Quebec's environment minister says he hopes to turn Quebec into a North American leader when it comes to going green.

Pierre Arcand gave CBC News an exclusive interview during a trip to California this week to increase interest in the creation of a cap and trade carbon market.

So far, only Quebec and California are committed to creating such a market, and it's set to come into effect gradually, beginning in 2013.

The system will place a price on pollution, allowing companies that cut emissions to sell carbon credits for a profit.

Arcand said such a bold initiative is no easy sell for politicians these days.

"It creates change, and sometimes people are afraid of change," said Arcand.

Arcand said he's hopeful that eventually, other states and provinces will come on board.

Parti Québécois critic Scott McKay said Quebec has isolated itself, and Arcand's mission to the West Coast is smoke and mirrors.

"Well, he's pretty much trying to accomplish a marketing task towards Quebecers," said McKay.

McKay said transportation is the single biggest source of emissions, and Quebec should simply tax large, polluting vehicles, and reward drivers of electric cars.