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Trudeau says Canada's oil industry makes it 'all the more important' for him to fight climate change at home

"Canada is a big oil and gas producing country, and because of that, not in spite of that, we are leading on climate change as well."

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada's status as a major oil and gas producing country made it "all the more important" for his government to fight climate change.

The prime minister made the comments during a joint press conference in California with Governor Gavin Newsom.

The prime minister was asked by Global News reporter David Akin why he could be taken credibly when Trudeau just approved a new oil and gas project in Canada’s east coast

Trudeau responded by saying that Canada was a major gas producing country with a "thriving" industry, but that it was for that reason that more action was needed.

"You talked about that we go to different summits and talk about climate, what I also do as soon as I'm sitting around... as I was explaining why Canada was taking a remarkably different and better position than we had previously toward the Paris agreement back at the end of 2015, I prefixed my comments by saying Canada is one of the largest oil and gas producers in the world. So, moving forward on climate change is really hard for us. We have a thriving fossil fuel industry in our country at a time when the world continues to run on fossil fuels and will for a number of more years," said Trudeau.

"So, we have every excuse in the world, and the previous Conservative government to me used that excuse to say, 'oh no, Canada has too many fossil fuels, we can't do anything on leading on the environment.' And what I've understood and what I've always demonstrated is that the fact that we have that means that it's all the more important for us to step up and show real leadership on fighting climate change."

Trudeau said that Canada is one of the few countries in the world to move forward on a broad-based price on pollution, "and then manage to win two elections on that."

"So, it's not a vote killer, automatically," he said. "That's a point that I make to my fellow democracies as we try to move toward a global standard on pricing pollution."

Trudeau then took a jab at right-wing politicians who want to remove the price on pollution, and said that there would be more to come.

"There's lots of people out there that want to make pollution free again. We're not one of them. We're going to continue to fight for more price on pollution. And, absolutely right, the federal government in Canada doesn't control oil production in the same way, but we do have, thanks to a supreme court case that we won recently, control over environmental emissions," said Trudeau.

"We're moving forward with an absolute cap on oil and gas emissions and we're going to be reducing those emissions so we can get to net-zero by 2050. And that's not just waiting until 2049 to do it, every five years we have to have legislated check-ins on how we're doing on the track to 2050."

The Liberal Party promised to introduce this cap during the recent election. Trudeau's plan will be to force oil and gas companies to curb their emissions until it hits zero in 2050.

"Yes, we're stepping up with massive investments in renewables, massive investments in cleaner technologies, because we know that the world is moving off of oil and gas, massively reducing its dependency on it, and the inflation crisis people are facing right now is a motivator for many people to say, well, how fast can we become less reliant on Russia, obviously, but also Saudi and eventually Canadian oil and gas," said Trudeau. "Well, while we do that, we're investing to make sure that those amazing, hard workers in the oil and gas sector in Canada are able to transfer their skills and be building renewable electricity."

"Moving forward on hydrogen, moving forward on carbon capture and storage technology, moving forward on the kind of solutions that not just we need in Canada, but around the world.

"So yes, I will stand here and say 'yeah, Canada is a big oil and gas producing country,' and because of that, not in spite of that, we are leading on climate change as well," he concluded.

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