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Court backs Ottawa's decision to pull out of Kyoto

Montrealer Nicholas Manessis looks at a pamphlet left behind by the environmental group "Friends of the Earth" outside the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal.


The Federal Court has upheld the right of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government to withdraw from the Kyoto accord last December. But the former Bloc Québécois MP who led the challenge of the government's action says he might take the matter to the Federal Court of Appeal.

Daniel Turp said Tuesday he's disappointed but not surprised by the Federal Court decision to reject his argument that the provinces should have been consulted about the decision to pull out of the climate-change accord.

Justice Simon Noel said it was not up to Mr. Turp, who is now a law professor, to speak on behalf of the provinces.

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Mr. Turp, who was joined in the challenge by prominent lawyer Julius Grey, had argued the federal government had no right to make a unilateral decision.

Judge Noel says Ottawa's action did not violate the principle of separation of powers.

He ruled the federal government is not obliged to consult Parliament in such a case and pointed out that executive powers give it the right to pull out of an international treaty.

"Under the royal prerogative, the conduct of foreign affairs and international relations, including the power to enter into or withdraw from a treaty, is exclusively that of the government's executive branch," he wrote.

He said the government had followed the rules set out in the Kyoto accord.

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