October 20, 2015 / 6:08 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-White House says Canada could do more on climate ahead of Paris talks

(Adds quotes and additional background)

By Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - The White House said on Tuesday the new Canadian government could do more to address climate change ahead of international negotiations on the issue next month in Paris, a top priority for President Barack Obama in his 15 months remaining in office.

Obama was expected to phone Canada’s Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau on Tuesday to congratulate him on his party’s win on Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters, hinting that climate could be part of the discussion.

“Canada has also made a substantial and important commitment in advance of the Paris climate talks. We believe that it’s possible that there is more that Canada can do in this regard,” Earnest told reporters at a briefing.

Trudeau had pledged during his campaign to try to repair the Canada-U.S. relationship, which has been strained by the long delay in a decision on the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, which had been backed strongly by outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“I think it would be shortsighted to reduce the relationship between our two countries to just one issue,” Earnest said.

He said the completion of the Canadian election was unlikely to affect the timing of a U.S. State Department decision on the pipeline.

Obama still expects to make a decision on the pipeline, designed to run from Canada to Texas, before leaving office in January 2017, Earnest said.

The White House hopes the new Canadian government will continue to support the efforts of the U.S.-led coalition to fight Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, Earnest said.

Trudeau had pledged during the campaign to withdraw Canada’s CF-18 bombers from the coalition fight.

“The Obama administration and the United States will be in talks with our Canadian partners about their contribution to our counter-ISIL effort,” Earnest said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

“We hope that we can continue to count on their ongoing support for this very important mission.” (Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Will Dunham and Mohammad Zargham)

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