Canada PM Trudeau faces split at national climate change summit

Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:40pm EST
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday met the country's provinces to hammer out a national climate change strategy, but two major players signaled they had reservations about the idea.

Trudeau's Liberals won an election last month promising a radical change on the environment from the previous Conservative administration, which was widely criticized for not doing enough to combat global warming.

The half-day Ottawa summit brought together Trudeau and the premiers of the 10 provinces to work out a common position ahead of a United Nations environmental summit in Paris next week.

Trudeau says Canada must curb its emissions of greenhouse gases to be taken seriously.

But Brad Wall, premier of the energy-producing province of Saskatchewan, said any agreement had to find a balance between the environment and protecting employment. Low crude prices have triggered major job losses among energy industry workers.

"What additional impact will that have on the energy sector, which is already suffering massive layoffs in our country?" he told reporters before the summit.

Alberta, home to most of Canada's oil sands, said on Sunday in a ground-breaking move that it would implement an economy-wide tax on carbon emissions in 2017.

"It was an historic moment, a strong positive step in the right direction," Trudeau said in opening remarks.   Continued...

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gestures as he speaks during a news conference after attending the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila November 19, 2015.  REUTERS/Erik De Castro