Trudeau And Ministers Pleaded With Trump Not To Exit Paris Accord

REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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President Donald Trump didn’t just have to resist the entrieaties of his daughter Ivanka and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to stay with the Paris climate accord. As Canada’s envionment and climate change minister told CTV News on Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pleaded with President Donald Trump to remain in the agreement.

Catherine McKenna says that she, Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minster Chystia Freeland were “very active” in their efforts to convince Trump that the climate agreement was good for America and that it would be better for the U.S. to maintain a seat at the climate change table.

“But clearly that message didn’t resonate,” she said on CTV’s Question Period.

Just a couple of months ago, McKenna was a fount of optimism when asked if Trump was really serious about leaving a climate accord that committed the U.S. to reduce its 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025. She claimed that “there’s certainly been positive signals from the president” that he would renege on his promise to voters.

Now, like Trudeau, who used them same language to describe his feelings, McKenna says she is disappointed that “they didn’t take our advice.”

But she is also apparently confused, saying, “I’m just not clear about what the U.S. position is,” though she did not specify what part of “no” she did not understand.

McKenna claims, “The Paris agreement was always designed to have flexibility. So the U.S. had the flexibility, and the Trump administration the flexibility to decide what actions they were going to take in the United States.”

Suggesting it could take four years for the U.S. to formally leave the accord, McKenna says it would be impossible to renegotiate the deal.

“You can’t renegotiate the Paris agreement. It’s in force, although 90 per cent of the rules remain to be negotiated. I’ve made this case to my American counterpart that [it’s] better to be at the table and be negotiating the rules,” she said.

But Conservative international trade critic Gerry Ritz told CTV that it’s now time “for some solid reflection” on where Canada goes from here.

“Canada can show some leadership here, but for us to completely clean up our house and no one else come on board even, like China, until 2030, what are we doing? We’re 1.6 percent of the whole global problem, so we can go to zero if you can get to that point technically, and it still wouldn’t make a difference globally. So there’s a lot of work to be done,” said Ritz

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