Quebec premier Pauline Marois
Credits: JEAN-FRANCOIS DESGAGNES/QMI AGENCY
Former prime minister Brian Mulroney granted Quebec and New Brunswick full standing at the Francophonie, allowing them some independence on international issues.
University of Calgary Professor Barry Cooper says that's wrong.
"This, I think, is one of the consequences of thinking that Quebec is so special," he said. "It undermines the exclusive jurisdiction of the government of Canada to conduct foreign policy."
New Brunswick Premier David Alward's comments are not likely to be controversial, but Quebec's separatist Premier Pauline Marois is expected to use the summit to trumpet her policy of replacing oil with so-called green energy.
Cooper calls that policy "stupid."
"Any place in the world where there has been that, it has been subsidized by taxpayers and eventually by 'dirty' energy, by carbon energy," he said.
He also says it would be hypocritical for Marois to take that message to an international audience when her province depends on transfer payments from provinces such as Alberta.
The federal government is playing down any disagreements with Quebec on energy or other issues.
"I don't see any donnybrooks," Prime Minister Harper's spokesman, Andrew MacDougall said Tuesday. "I don't see any big confrontations. Madame Marois herself said that we're going to have productive discussions there and I'll leave it at that."
Environment Minister Peter Kent says he expects the feds and Quebec will "engage constructively."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Marois sit down Saturday morning in Kinshasa for their first face-to-face chat since Marois was elected premier.
Alward will join both leaders for about a half-hour after the Harper-Marois meeting.