Remarks on the new Canada-California Climate Action and Nature Protection Partnership
Canada has long had just extraordinary relationships with California, like-minded in so many ways, and we’ve been able to, under your leadership and predecessors, really deepen and concretize that in ways when, indeed, sometimes we’ve seen the rest of the United States not be as aligned with Canada on many different things.
I want to highlight the team I’m here with, including my Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, Steven Guilbeault. It’s Steven’s birthday today, and he asked me what he wanted for his birthday, I said how about a memorandum of understanding and agreement with California? And he said that would be awesome boss, so…
Also joined by my amazing diplomatic team, our Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman, and our two Consul Generals to California, both San Francisco and L.A., in Rana Sarkar and Zaib Shaikh.
You know, the Governor spoke a little bit about all the ways the world is being challenged right now around climate. We have all, in Canada, watched horrific images of wildfires and challenging droughts that you’ve faced here, while at the same time Canada has been going through many of the same things. We had devastating, devastating wildfires and heatwaves last year that saw the destruction of an entire community in our… in our... the provincial interior in British Columbia. We saw floods a few months later wipe out major infrastructures and highways. We've seen extreme weather events across the country.
And we know that, yes, there's a lot we can do in Canada, but Canada alone cannot solve this problem for Canadians, we need to work with everyone to solve the problems of the world. And that's why over the past years we have been leaning forward as much as possible, either at the COP conventions to move forward on global pushes on putting prices on pollution, or more directly recognizing the unbelievable role that subnational governments and municipalities have to play in fighting climate change and bringing citizens along.
And we've seen it over the years, where a federal government is unwilling or because of log jams – and in this case Republican interference – unable to actually move forward on the kind of climate leadership that’s necessary; state governments and cities step up. And we had that in Canada as well. Before my arrival in power, we had a more conservative government that did not think that climate leadership mattered, and therefore our provinces and our cities stepped up big time in carrying the ball.
And now we understand that we just have to work with everyone we possibly can, and California's consistent leadership matters, not just for the weight of the Californian economy and population, but it's an example of how to do things, how to look at climate change as a crisis that needs to be responded to, but also a tremendous opportunity that needs to be invested in and drawn on; not just create good green jobs of the future, but good green careers of the future.
And that's what we're focused on in Canada, and that's what you're focused on here.
So, in the future we want to build, Canadians and Californians share so much.
Earlier this week I met with high school students who are studying sustainability, and one of them, Jacinta, asked how she and her friends could be leaders on climate action. My answer to her was, think about what you can do, yes, but mostly think about how you can gather with and mobilize partners to do the same, because we are not going to do it unless you're bringing people along with you.
That's exactly what we're doing here today, putting that into action, teaming up. Because today, as we launch a partnership to continue and deepen the work that we've been doing, between Canada and California on climate and nature, we're building a team of almost 80 million people. This new partnership will see us work together on everything from protecting nature, driving investment in clean tech, keeping single-use plastic out of our oceans. We’re also committed that Canada and California will bring together experts at UN Climate Week to drive progress on wildfires and climate… and forest resilience.
The bottom line is we're delivering what matters to people: clean air and water, good jobs and a strong future that leaves no one behind.
In 2019, Canada and California launched an initial partnership on zero-emission vehicles. We’ve seen what we can accomplish by working together. I’m thinking of Quebec companies, like Lion Electric, which is well known in Canada but has now gone to California. And the Governor told me that yes, he is very familiar with Lion Electric from Quebec.
We have teamed up once again on climate action and nature protection so that together we can deliver clean air and water, good jobs and a strong future.
On climate action, the world is watching. Our vision and commitment to working together matters. So, Gavin, thank you for being our partner as we take this historic step.
I’m very excited to see what Canada and California can accomplish together, because we are, all of us, not just leadership, but citizens, committed to working together for a brighter future for all.
Thank you very much, friends.