Justin Trudeau seeks to highlight climate policy in visit to Canada’s Far North
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau injected a dose of electoral politics into an announcement Thursday in Canada’s Far North, taking aim at his Conservative rival while unveiling two new marine protected areas.
Trudeau is using the trip to showcase some of the more dramatic effects of climate change in order to promote his Liberal government’s record on climate action ahead of this fall’s federal election.
He announced the creation of a new marine protected area near Arctic Bay — an Inuit hamlet on the northwest corner of Baffin Island — known as the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area, and a second area on the northwest coast of Ellesmere Island that will be known as the Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area. Tuvaijuittuq means “the place where the ice never melts.”
But melting sea ice and increased shipping traffic have posed increased threats to many important local species, including sea birds, narwhals and bowhead whales.
The country now has protection measures in place for almost 14 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas, an area spanning more than 427,000 square kilometres — an area larger than Newfoundland and Labrador. The Liberals had targeted protected 10 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2020.
Trudeau used the backdrop of shifting Arctic terrain and endangered sea life to cast himself and his Liberal party as best-placed to serve as stewards of the environment — already shaping up to be a key ballot box issue — and as partners with Inuit in protecting the North.
“How we choose to use this territory, I think, is telling of the kind of future that we hope to build,” he said.
“In July, Andrew Scheer travelled to Whitehorse to outline his vision for the Arctic. Not once did he mention the word ‘Inuit.’ It tells you a lot about the future he would build if he were prime minister. But he did talk about unlocking untapped potential in the region — and on that, he agrees with us.”
Last month, a political spat erupted over the Liberal plan to introduce a clean-fuel standard, another example of how the divisive political debate over climate policy is likely to play out on the campaign trail
The fuel standard would require cleaner-burning fuels as a way to reduce overall carbon emissions by 30 million tonnes a year.
Scheer accused the Liberals of plotting to levy a “secret fuel tax” on Canadians by enforcing a standard that would increase the cost of gasoline. The Liberals wasted no time firing back, accusing Conservatives of hurling smears, while also calling the Conservative environment policy “anti-climate action.”
Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, said climate change has already had devastating impacts on local infrastructure in the territories — a trend that is projected to continue if emissions and global temperatures continue to rise.
A recent report by Canadian scientists warned that most Canadian Arctic marine regions would be free of sea ice for part of the summer by 2050 and that most small ice caps and ice shelves in the Canadian arctic will disappear by 2100, even if emission reduction measures are enacted.Canadian conservatives, Canadian news, Canadian politics, Conservative Canadians, conservatives, Justin Trudeau seeks to highlight climate policy in visit to Canada’s Far North, pipelines, right for Canada
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