Canada’s Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq will sidestep Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s international climate change summit to be held next week in conjunction with Pan Am Games, the National Observer has learned.
Instead, Aglukkaq will attend a Nunavut Day festival in her Arctic riding far away from the international dignitaries arriving in Toronto, despite an upcoming federal election where global warming is becoming a hot issue.
“Our government is working with the provinces and territories while respecting their jurisdiction – unlike Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and Thomas Mulcair’s NDP who would force the provinces into carbon-pricing schemes and impose carbon taxes that will kill jobs, damage our economy and raise the cost of everything, including: gas, groceries and electricity,” her office said in a statement Friday.
The July 7-9 Climate Summit of the Americas will attract 300 regional government and business leaders from across the hemisphere to discuss climate change and a low carbon economy.
Presenters include former U.S. vice-President Al Gore, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, California Governor Jerry Brown and the former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón. Representatives from Brazil, Mexico, U.S., Costa Rica and Peru will also attend.
Federal opposition parties say Aglukkaq’s MIA status at the meeting, plus the Ontario-led climate summit itself, highlight how the Harper government is not taking leadership on climate change.
“I say, ‘thank God for Kathleen Wynne,” reacted Liberal environment critic and Scarbourough MP John McKay. “I think she has stepped up to the plate and asserted leadership for our nation, as has [Quebec Premier] Coulliard, when there is clearly an absence of federal leadership.”
“It reinforces for Canadians, that Harper government is not serious about climate change,” added NDP MP Malcolm Allen, the party’s deputy energy and natural resources critic.