Canada’s environment minister said she’s no “quitter” despite calls on Wednesday from David Suzuki for her to resign and a G7 meeting that didn’t shift her American counterpart’s firm opposition to the Paris climate agreement.
Catherine McKenna had started off the three-day Halifax gathering by telling a personal story of encountering young people in the Arctic who are worried local hunters are falling through the ice due to rising temperatures.
“They’re worried about whether we’re going to do anything about it because they don’t feel empowered to do anything about it,” she told the delegates, after reminding them of a summer that has seen massive forest fires and deadly hurricanes.
The minister also spoke of translating the targets of the Paris climate agreement into action and said countries need to firm up rules around how the carbon emission targets will be enforceable.
She’d faced calls later on from Canada’s most prominent environmentalist to leave her job due to the prime minister’s support of the fossil fuel industry.
The French environment minister recently took that route, saying he didn’t want to create the illusion his presence in the government was leading to progress on climate change.
David Suzuki says if McKenna really believes what she’s saying, she too should quit “instead of being an apologist for the government.”
He told the Montreal-based news site that Canada lacks credibility on climate change, with the Liberal government supporting the construction of a pipeline to the British Columbia coast to transport Alberta bitumen.
Suzuki made the comments in the context of an interview about the resignation of French environment minister, Nicolas Hulot.
“She must stop rationalizing what Canada is doing,” Suzuki told La Presse, adding that the government “talks out both sides of its mouth.”