File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Environment minister Catherine McKenna speaks at an announcement regarding the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change in Calgary.

Canada won’t isolate U.S. over Paris: McKenna

OTTAWA — Canada will keep talking with the White House regardless of its position on the Paris accord because the two countries have more than just climate change to talk about, says Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

McKenna heads to Italy this weekend for a G7 ministerial meeting where she hopes to have a private conversation with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt.

It is her first chance to talk to him directly since President Donald Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the Paris accord, largely on Pruitt’s advice.

Pruitt is known to be a climate change skeptic. Trump has frequently tweeted his own misgivings towards climate change science, at one point calling it a “hoax” cooked up by foreign governments to make the U.S. less competitive.

Privately, the Canadian government does not believe Trump will change his mind about the Paris plan, which was signed by 195 nations in 2015 with an aim to keeping global warming to below 2 degrees C. Instead, it will seek out state and city allies in the U.S. who still support Paris.

Publicly, McKenna remains committed to diplomacy with the United States.

“Clearly, we have a difference of perspectives on the Paris Agreement, although I believe that conversations are important, so I will be once again reiterating that the Paris Agreement is very important to tackle climate change,” she said.

Canada has other environmental issues to work on beyond climate change, including clean air and clean water, so the lines of communication have to remain open, she added.

Canada’s position has been less antagonistic than many of its European G7 allies, the leaders of which have either thrown up their hands when it comes to Trump, or are even openly mocking him.

The rift between Trump and European G7 leaders, opened during last month’s meetings, has grown exponentially since Trump’s Paris announcement June 1.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel returned from the G7 to tell Germans the country could no longer rely on America. She is touring Central and South America ahead of next month’s G20 meeting in Germany, and is trying to bring the other 19 countries on side on climate change.

In a video posted to Facebook an hour after Trump’s Paris announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron offered refuge to American climate scientists and said Paris would “make our planet great again,” borrowing the U.S. president’s campaign slogan.

Macron’s government also seized on a video Trump posted to defend his Paris decision, annotating it to correct what France says are inaccuracies.

Canada has chosen not to align itself directly with Europe on the matter, even though its policies on Paris are the same. Merkel, Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paulo Gentiloni signed a joint letter condemning Trump’s decision and refusing to consider renegotiating Paris.

Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan were also asked to sign it, but refused. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and McKenna released their own statements instead.

Trudeau has had conversations with all the G7 leaders since the Trump Paris announcement to figure out how to keep the accord alive, and has said he intends to make it a priority issue next year, when Canada takes on the G7 presidency.

— Follow @mrabson on Twitter

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

BREAKING: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

The cost of flushing sanitary wipes is brought to Red Deer city council

More public education is needed about what not to flush down toilets

Veterans’ Park barrier key to pedestrian safety, says Red Deer traffic engineer

The recently roughed-up concrete barrier in front of Veterans’ Park has seen… Continue reading

Man accused of home invasion in court

Victim was shot and cut with machete in September 2017 attack

WATCH: Rebels play floor hockey with Annie L. Gaetz students

The Rebels may be on a losing streak but they were definitely… Continue reading

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali… Continue reading

This robotic maid takes us one step closer to ‘The Jetsons’

Imagine this: You’re rushing to get ready for work — juggling emails,… Continue reading

Milan line offers canine couture for pampered pooches

Milan has long been the world’s ready-to-wear fashion leader. Now, dogs are… Continue reading

Kim Kardashian West and husband Kanye welcome baby girl

NEW YORK — It’s a girl for Kim Kardashian West and her… Continue reading

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month