Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise appearance at an annual mining conference in downtown Toronto on Monday to pitch the idea that having a national policy framework to reduce the country’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 is good for the economy.
It marked his second consecutive appearance at the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference.
This year, however, Trudeau appeared one week after Teck Resources Ltd. cancelled its application for a permit to build a $20.6 billion mine in Alberta’s oilsands, with its chief executive Don Lindsay citing a lack of clear policy in Canada about carbon taxes and other climate change legislation. The prime minister’s appearance also came after weeks of protests temporarily stopped the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia and inspired dozens of other protests including rail blockades that paralyzed parts of the country’s economy.
Trudeau acknowledged that reconciling resource development and climate change is polarizing, and transitioning to a low-carbon economy will be difficult for some industries such as mining. But he insisted “protecting the environment” is the best way to attract investment in Canada and called on all governments to work cooperatively on climate change policies.
“Of course we can only create a better stronger economy for everyone if we are fighting climate change at the same time,” said Trudeau. “We know that, Canadians know that — we just haven’t reached that point of consensus … about the best way to do it.”
Trudeau poses here with his principal resource economics advisor.