Canadians united in wanting growth while protecting environment: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there's no regional divide when it comes to what Canadians want for the economy and the environment.

VANCOUVER — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there’s no regional divide when it comes to what Canadians want for the economy and the environment.

Speaking before climate change talks with the premiers later this week, Trudeau said everyone wants growth and jobs, while protecting the environment at the same time.

“That’s something that Albertans and Quebecers and everyone across the country is united in wanting,” he said Tuesday following the launch of a cross-sectoral group looking to identify policies that spur innovation, generate jobs and boost the economy while improving the environment.

Trudeau said the point of the discussions in Vancouver is how best to achieve that when leaders are coming to the table with differing views, solutions and priorities.

“When we look at that diversity and range of voices, yes, it’s a little more challenging to come to figure out that right place in the middle,” he said.

But he added that multiple perspectives ultimately “lead us to better solutions.”

Trudeau has said he favours carbon pricing as one way to help protect the environment, but Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has come out strongly against a national carbon tax.

Wall has said such a policy would “kneecap” an already struggling Canadian economy.

The talks this week are also happening under the increasing spectre of national discord over the Energy East pipeline. On Tuesday, the Quebec government said it will seek an injunction to ensure the proposed project is subject to the province’s environmental regulations.

The announcement came a few weeks after a coalition of Quebec environmental groups said it would take legal action against Energy East for the same reasons.

Alberta has been pushing for the pipeline as a means for the province to get its oil to Eastern Canadian refineries and from there to international markets.