First Ministers Hope to Find Common Ground at Environment Meetings

By Omand, Geordon | The Canadian Press, March 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

First Ministers Hope to Find Common Ground at Environment Meetings


Omand, Geordon, The Canadian Press


First ministers eager to find common ground

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VANCOUVER - Canada's first ministers have expressed their commitment to finding common ground in the fight against climate change, despite their sometimes conflicting views and priorities.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed the suggestion on Tuesday that there is a regional divide when it comes to what Canadians and their leaders want for the economy and the environment, describing an abundance of perspectives as an asset as he heads into climate change talks with the premiers this week in Vancouver.

"When we look at that diversity and range of voices: yes, it's a little more challenging to figure out that right place in the middle," he said.

But he added that multiple perspectives ultimately "lead us to better solutions."

Federal, provincial, territorial and First Nations leaders are gathering in Vancouver this week for the massive, biennial Globe clean-technology conference. Trudeau and the premiers are meeting with aboriginal leaders on Wednesday before a first ministers meeting on Thursday, Trudeau's second since winning last October's federal election.

"I'm very much looking forward to meeting with the first ministers this week to talk about the shared commitment that we all made in Paris a few months ago," Trudeau said Tuesday at the launch of a cross-sectoral coalition looking to identify policies that spur innovation, generate jobs and boost the economy while improving the environment.

At the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, world leaders committed to take measures to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Speaking about the first ministers meeting, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne stressed the importance of looking for points of agreement and shared goals in order to avoid the discussions immediately devolving into a disagreement over details.

"Rather than beginning with a fractious conversation about which kind of carbon pricing (and) how it's going to work, I think we have to start with our objectives: figure out how we can come to some agreement on what those are. …

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