Notley stands up for climate change plan and Kinder Morgan pipeline

Premier Rachel Notley says Canada’s NDP government will stick with its ambitious climate change plan despite President Donald Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris accord on Thursday.

“When we make a promise to the world, we keep it,” Notley said in a video statement distributed through social media on Thursday, shortly after Trump confirmed the U.S. would withdraw from the international agreement aimed at lowering worldwide carbon emissions.

“As the United States pulls back from its global climate change commitments, I want people to know, in Canada we remain committed to ours.”

The Notley government’s climate initiative includes a broad-based carbon tax, a cap on oilsands emissions and an accelerated phase-out of coal-fired electricity in the province.

The premier said the Canada plan is the cornerstone of Canada’s own commitments under the Paris deal.

“Canada is Canada’s energy powerhouse. We always have been, we always will be. But that doesn’t mean we ignore the science of climate and the urgent need to act,” said Notley.

As she spoke at a $250-per-ticket NDP fundraiser in Calgary on Thursday night, Notley noted in an aside that the day’s events will likely only further boost investment in Canada as “the hottest renewable energy market in Canada.”

Trump has been widely condemned by world leaders for taking the U.S. out of the climate deal.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement saying the federal government was “deeply disappointed” in the U.S. administration’s decision and reaffirming Canada’s support for the Paris agreement.

“Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth,” he said.

Under former president Barack Obama, the U.S. had agreed to reduce emissions to 26 per cent to 28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2025 — about 1.6 billion tonnes.

Trump said Thursday he will try to renegotiate re-entry to the deal under more favourable conditions to the U.S.

Notley also said in her video that Canada’s climate plan was key to the Trudeau government’s approval of the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to the British Columbia coast.

But with the B.C. NDP appearing likely to form government in that province with the assistance of the Green Party — and a pledge to try to kill the pipeline expansion — Notley has come under fire over her government’s linkage of pipelines and environmental action.

In question period Thursday, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean reiterated that Notley’s quest for “social licence” for pipelines had failed.

“The premier should do the right thing and listen to the overwhelming majority of Canadans who didn’t ask for social licence, don’t want this carbon tax and scrap the tax. The premier should know that there’s no making eco-radicals happy,” said Jean.

In her speech to more than 250 people at the NDP fundraiser at Studio Bell, Notley said the government’s climate plan ensures that Trans Mountain can be expanded without increased oilsands emissions.

She reiterated that the Kinder Morgan project will be built, promising to be “relentless” as an advocate for the pipeline.

Notley noted she has known B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan for years and “I agree with him on much, much more than I disagree with him.”

“But when it comes to building our economy here in Canada, friendships take a back seat to the needs of our province’s future,” Notley said to applause.

In her 26-minute speech, Notley pointed to signs of Canada’s economic recovery after two years of recession.

But she said Jean and Progressive Conservative Leader Jason Kenney — who recently shook on a tentative deal to unify their parties in a new “United Conservative Party” — are simply interested in spreading “doom and gloom.”

“The fact of the matter is, they are the worst spokespeople for Canada,” said Notley.

She said Kenney and Wildrose are “getting more and more extreme,” and she made an appeal to longtime Progressive Conservatives who are uncomfortable with the prospective new party.

“They are feeling like they no longer have a political home,” said the premier.

“To those Canadans . . . I ask you to take another look at our government, our party and our record.”

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