Canada helps kick off climate talks in Paris

By Mike Lloyd and Sonia Aslam

November 30, 2015

Publication source: News 1130

PARIS (NEWS 1130) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has joined 150 other world leaders to kick off two weeks of high-level, high-stakes climate talks in Paris, poised to push Canada back into a leadership role when it comes to global problem-solving.

Or at least, that’s the goal.

For the first time in years, Ottawa has sent a delegation to UN climate talks representing not only the government but opposition parties and both environmental and business groups.

Among them is Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who is very pleased with the change.

“This is a very welcome return to tradition where Canadian delegations represent Canada,” she tells NEWS 1130.

“As an opposition party leader, I’m invited; so is [the Conservatives’] Rona Ambrose and [NDP leader] Tom Mulcair, as are all the premiers. And there are a lot of young people, First Nations leaders and business leaders. We are all working together across party lines and across jurisdictions.”

May suggests there has been a sea-change under Trudeau.

“It’s a very significant shift when dealing with Prime Minister Trudeau, who is building on science. He brought in climate scientists and they did a public briefing for all the premiers and the new cabinet to get up to date on exactly how much the climate crisis threatens Canada.”

May believes Canada lost a lot of its reputation as a world leader under the Harper government.

“As someone who attends these climate conferences, these are tough negotiations. In the last decade, Canada’s negotiators have been in the way and not helpful,” she says.

“This time around, I’m looking forward to being on the delegation and I’m hopeful that we will get a treaty that really works and that when we come back from Paris that we will see headlines around the world that Canada was a leader. I’d be overjoyed to know that we’d reclaimed our place in the world as real leaders in helping solve global problems.”

The COP21 talks in Paris talks are aimed at a long-term deal to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and slow global warming.