California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger brought his environmental message to Ontario on Wednesday, and swapped hockey jerseys with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Schwarzenegger met with Harper in his office on Parliament Hill and gave him an Anaheim Ducks sweater, in exchange for an Ottawa Senators jersey. The two teams will face each other tonight in the second game of the NHL final.

But the environment, not hockey, has been the dominate theme of Schwarzenegger's trade mission to Canada.

The governor was in Toronto Wednesday morning to meet with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, and highlighted the importance of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

"I know that the people of Canada, the people of this beautiful, majestic land are committed heart and soul to the environment," he said. "And I came to Canada to tell you that I believe as you do. I came to say 'Do not be discouraged. Do not lose hope.'"

McGuinty and Schwarzenegger signed an agreement to cut emissions in Ontario. But while the deal includes low-carbon fuel standards for the province, it will fall short of California's tough emission caps.

Schwarzenegger has pledged to cut his state's greenhouse emissions 25 per cent by the year 2020, and an additional 80 per cent by the year 2050.

The deal commits Ontario to:

  • Adopt California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, implemented to reduce carbon content of all fuels sold in the state by 10 percent by the year 2020;
  • Promote innovative, low-carbon technology; and
  • Explore more energy-efficient programs and policies.

The premier has already set a target to reduce Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, but McGuinty and Canadian environmentalists think the federal government should set standards for every province and territory.

"In an ideal world, we would have a global standard for everything from emissions to fuel standards to energy efficiency," said McGuinty.

Schwarzenegger said he's also been hampered in getting the U.S. government onboard with his policies, but he's made it clear that California is going to get federal support to go green, one way or another.

"We're working with federal government, and at the same time we made it clear that if we don't get it, we'll sue the federal government," Schwarzenegger said, cracking a smile.

McGuinty said he's convinced that North America's national levels of government will get onboard soon, but in the meantime, regional governments have to work together to gain momentum.

"I don't think you're going to see the federal governments at the front of the parade, I think that you'll see them joining it sometime in the not-so-distant future, but much of the leadership will be provided by states and individual provinces," he said.

"What we're doing now is reaching out to each other and reminding ourselves that we share the same planet, and we can work together to form a critical mass and continue to build on that."

The governor and McGuinty also announced a new $30-million joint research venture to facilitate stem-cell research.

McGuinty and Schwarzenegger signed the deal at the MaRs Discovery District research centre in Toronto as part of the California governor's three-day trade mission to Canada.

"Our government is proud to be investing $30 million in the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium to be headquartered right here at MaRs," said McGuinty.

"The consortium will research ways to use knowledge of cancer stem cells to find a lasting cure."

Government sources say funding for the agreement is provided by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

Schwarzenegger is a leading supporter of stem-cell research and said he hopes new discoveries will lead to "a cure for deadly and debilitating diseases."

The governor's father-in-law suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

The two Canadian scientists who discovered stem cells in 1963 were on-hand to hear the premier's announcement.

This is Schwarzenegger's first trip to Canada as governor. He is also scheduled to meet with B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell.

(Tune in to CTV's Canada AM on Thursday morning to watch a one-on-one interview with Schwarzenegger.)

With files from The Canadian Press