OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron, long billed as kindred political spirits, agreed Monday to a fresh, fortified attack on climate change — hoping to keep a shared priority at the forefront of the global agenda despite Donald Trump’s decision to quit the battlefield.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna was on hand to sign the new France-Canada partnership on climate and environment in a ceremony at the French presidential palace during the first day of Trudeau’s official visit to Paris.
“France and Canada today pledge to redouble their efforts and increase their co-operation,” Trudeau said in French during a news conference with Macron following the ceremony.
“This initiative will encourage and accelerate the achievement of the Paris Agreement targets through concrete measures to make this agreement in principle a reality.”
The partnership comes as Macron has taken it upon himself to personally champion the Paris deal since Trump made good on his threat to withdraw from the climate accord last year.
The France-Canada partnership, which includes pushing for a global price on carbon and reductions to transport-related emissions, also falls squarely in line with Trudeau’s government priorities for the G7 in Quebec this June.
And with France having the G7 presidency in 2019, senior Canadian officials said, the hope is that the exclusive group of nations will continue working toward the goals laid out by the Paris Agreement, with the international community following their lead.
What remains unclear is how Trump will respond to any perceived attempt to force him into a stronger position on climate change, though the officials insist no one is trying to back the U.S. president into a corner.
Interestingly, the government is also hoping the partnership will convince the French that Canada is indeed serious about fighting climate change — and that ratification of the new Canada-EU free trade deal will eventually follow.
There have been concerns in France that investor-protection clauses within the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement — or CETA, as the Canada-EU deal is known — would lead to weakened environmental rules.
At one point during Monday’s news conference, Trudeau found himself defending the trade deal, noting there aren’t many other countries that are better suited to a free trade deal with Europe than Canada.
“Whether its environmental protection or freedom of expression or other things, Canada and France are well aligned. Canada and Europe are well aligned,” the prime minister said in French.
“And CETA …
Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel