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Trudeau says Canada-U.S. climate strategy should include Mexico

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau capped off a high-profile official visit to the United States by pledging to forge a unified North American climate strategy to "make a significant dent" in global warming.

The day after holding talks in the Oval Office and being feted by President Barack Obama at a state dinner, the Prime Minister trumpeted his call to arms on climate change and social justice to receptive audiences of students and liberal Democrats.

Mr. Trudeau said the environmental strategy announced at the White House on Thursday to regulate potent greenhouse gases such as methane gas and black carbon, limit heavy vehicle emission and safeguard sensitive marine areas in the Arctic must be extended to Mexico.

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"There is no question that the continent – Mexico, the U.S. and Canada – together working on energy issues, on addressing environmental concerns, figuring out how to get things done here will make a significant dent in global emissions," he told students at American University. "We can make a tremendous impact. In fact, we have to if we are going to keep warming to under two degrees."

At the Paris climate-change summit in December, world leaders agreed to pursue a tough global-warming limit of 1.5 Celsius degrees and work toward a cleaner, greener energy future within a generation.

Mr. Trudeau also said North America's indigenous peoples can play a role in the global struggle to slow down the warming planet.

"We could do worse than draw on the cultural teachings and historical knowledge that indigenous communities have about how to create a proper balance with the land," he said.

Canada will play host to the next North American Leaders' Summit, this summer, and a senior government official said Mr. Trudeau will make climate change a key focus of the talks along with boosting continental trade.

To help in those discussions, Canada will remove visa restrictions for Mexicans, the official said, who added the Prime Minister believes Canada can be a "model" for Mexico to follow in working on climate issues with the United States.

"It is the great and defining issue of our time … this is something we have to address for the survival of our planet." Mr. Trudeau told a luncheon of the Center for American Progress, a left-of-centre think tank, where several of Mr. Obama's top aides once worked, including chief of staff Denis McDonough.

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During Mr. Trudeau's visit to the White House, Mr. Obama lauded the Prime Minister for espousing the same liberal values he shares on the environment, diversity, gender equality and engaging youth in politics. Mr. Trudeau didn't disappoint when he emphasized those themes at Friday's events. Students loudly applauded him when he called on young men to act like feminists and spoke about the resettlement of 25,000 refugees.

At the Center for American Progress, Mr. Trudeau went on at great length to denounce the former Conservative government's attempt during the past election to demonize people wearing the niqab, for the terrorist tip line and for passing a law to strip citizenship from dual Canadian citizens convicted of terrorism.

"That's the reason I am here and not Stephen Harper," Mr. Trudeau said to applause.

Mr. Trudeau has invited Mr. Obama to Ottawa to address a joint session of Parliament. An official said the President will not be able to visit until July when Parliament is adjourned. However, the official said arrangements will be made to recall Parliament for the day of the speech.

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About the Author
Ottawa Bureau Chief

Robert Fife is The Globe and Mail's Ottawa Bureau Chief and the host of CTV's "Question Period with The Globe and Mail's Robert Fife." He uncovered the Senate expense scandal, setting the course for an RCMP investigation, audits and reform of Senate expense rules. In 2012, he exposed the E. More

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