Trudeau Tells UN That ‘No Country Can Walk Away’ From Climate Change

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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In his second address to the United Nations General Assembly Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chided President Donald Trump on his decision to leave the Paris climate accord.

“There is no country on the planet that can walk away from the challenge and the reality of climate change,” he said as the delegates interrupted his speech with applause.

Trudeau spent much of his 30 minute speech addressing “reconciliation” with Canada’s “indigenous peoples,” saying that Canada was prepared to uphold the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights.

But he also emphasized his government’s commitment to gender equality, saying “we need women and girls to succeed because that’s how we grow stronger economies and build stronger communities.”

He took the opportunity to say that his Liberal government would be “moving forward with legislation to ensure equal pay for work of equal value.”

Trudeau reiterated his oft-repeated line that Canada’s “diversity has become our great strength,” but suggested that this hasn’t been true for “everyone that shares our land.” He called the experience of indigenous peoples in Canadians history “one of humiliation, neglect and abuse.”

The prime minister suggested his government’s reconciliation policy was “uncharted territory.”

Trudeau also delivered a distinctly political, campaign-style message, telling the assembly that Canada was “building the middle class” while making communities “safe and sustainable” through a housing strategy and child benefit payments that he claimed would reduce child poverty by 40 percent.

He also lauded his government’s tax policies, saying it had “raised taxes on the wealthiest one percent so that we could lower them on the middle class.” He even referenced his current political battle with the opposition Conservatives and a coalition of small business groups that are seeking to stop what they describe as a massive tax grab. Trudeau described the changes to the tax code as “fair.”

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