Liberal leader Justin Trudeau
Credits: REUTERS/Todd Korol
Full transcription below
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau confirms he would put a price on carbon emissions regardless of whether other countries do.
The comment came Friday at the Calgary Stampede when Sun News Network's Rob Gibson asked the Grit chief if he'd take action on carbon emissions if major emitters like China and the United States did not.
Trudeau said Canada's role is to be "an example," adding "we need to show that we are taking this seriously."
However, he also acknowledged that Canada is a relatively minor player in global carbon dioxide emissions - currently representing only around 1.5 percent of the world's total. Still, he indicated Canada should price carbon in any case.
Several economists have said that pricing carbon in Canada without other countries doing the same would put Canadian industry at a major competitive disadvantage.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has resisted climate treaties such as the controversial Kyoto Protocol that do not include limits for ‘developing' nations. China and India alone currently account for approximately 28 percent of global emissions - more than eighteen times that of Canada.
Last week Trudeau said that Canada's pricing carbon would allow U.S. President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, even though the United States does not regulate carbon emissions for its own oil and gas sector.
QUESTION: Would you rule out unilaterally putting a price on carbon if big emitters like China and the US don't?
TRUDEAU: I think understanding what Canada's role is, we have nowhere near the kinds of, or the scale of emissions that every other...that larger emitters do. But we do have significant and concerning numbers per capita. And we also do have issues around certain industries. And what role Canada has is as an example. We need to show that we are taking this seriously. If we can be a modern, responsible country that understands that yes, we have energy resources at the heart of our economy and we have winters that are too cold and summers that are too hot, and we have tremendous needs in terms of energy use. But we can still take a leadership role, take a clear role on saying you don't have to choose between environment and economy in the 21st century. We can do them both together. And that's the kind of leadership that this government hasn't had. That this country hasn't given.