HALIFAX -- The premiers should assert greater control of their own economies, specifically when it comes to immigration, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said Friday as the provincial leaders gathered in Halifax to discuss global economic trends.

"One of the things that I hope to see is a resolution from premiers that we need more control of our provincial economies, particularly with respect to immigration, which is a huge lever that drives our economies," Clark said ahead of the meeting with her counterparts.

Manitoba's Greg Selinger said immigration is key for his province's economy, particularly for small- and medium-sized businesses.

"It's that local texture that really makes a difference in our ability to have success," he said before the meeting.

Clark said the meeting with the premiers is a recognition that provincial governments drive the national economy, not Ottawa.

Some premiers have criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper for not attending the discussions, but he has said he has met with them individually and will continue to do so.

Host Premier Darrell Dexter of Nova Scotia said the premiers would discuss how they could work together to ensure the Canadian economy prospers.

"There are still unanswered questions I think in most people's minds around where things like inflation are going to go over the next little while," Dexter said.

One highlight of the meeting was a presentation by Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney on the bank's outlook for the global and Canadian economies as well as on national inflation.

Carney has previously warned that rising personal debt levels and the so-called U.S. fiscal cliff are the most immediate threats to the national economy.