Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Premier in D.C.: I'm Here to Talk Climate Change, Not the KXL Pipeline

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Premier in D.C.: I'm Here to Talk Climate Change, Not the KXL Pipeline

Article excerpt

Wynne talks climate change in D.C. speech

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WASHINGTON - Ontario's premier delivered the kind of message visiting Canadian politicians don't often bring to the U.S. capital -- and she quipped about it during a speech Tuesday.

Kathleen Wynne subtly drew attention to a difference between her message and what Washington audiences have come to expect during visits from Canada's federal government.

"You may be conditioned to expect a Canadian politician to come to Washington and talk mostly about the Keystone pipeline," Wynne told an audience that included current and former diplomats, lobby groups, and representatives from the U.S. Congress and administration.

"I am not here to do that. That decision is before the United States government and it is not my place, as premier of Ontario, to tell you how to proceed."

A number of people in the chamber were vigorous backers of the stalled pipeline including representatives from the Canadian Embassy, the Alberta diplomatic office in D.C., and industry lobbyists.

A final decision on the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline is expected soon.

Wynne went on to devote much of her speech at the Wilson Center to climate change -- praising a U.S. emissions deal with China, and promoting Ontario's intention to join a cap-and-trade system with California and Quebec.

The federal government derides cap-and-trade schemes as a carbon tax. Wynne, however, celebrated them. She called them a proven and economically efficient method, endorsed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Wynne also challenged "climate-change deniers" who fixate on the cost of greenhouse-gas reduction efforts, without taking into account the cost of dealing with extreme weather.

She linked climate change to hurricane Sandy shutting down the New York Stock Exchange for the first time since 1888, to the 2013 ice storm that paralyzed Toronto, and to the cold snap that devastated Ontario's apple harvest a few years ago.

"I am fixated on cost too, but I am looking at all the costs," she said.

"That's not a distant or potential threat. That is a changing climate that is destroying the livelihood of people I serve. …

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