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Trudeau visits Niagara-On-The-Lake, renews Canada's commitment to Paris Accord

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Canada's Prime Minister was in Southern Ontario Monday, making two stops along the border. While in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Justin Trudeau told an audience his nation remains "all in" in its commitment to combating adverse climate change.

Trudeau paddled a kayak from the Niagara River to the shoreline at Queen's Royal Park. After coming ashore, he spent several minutes meeting supporters and agreeing to pose for their selfies. He then walked uphill to a nearby podium where he delivered a brief message about climate change. He renewed his nation's commitment to a global effort to counter it and to grow a more green-minded economy.

He also offered words of encouragement days after President Donald Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord.

"I don't want to offer false hope, because the truth is we can't turn back the clock," Trudeau said. "We can't cool the atmosphere. That damage is done, damage that was set in motion generations ago. But neither should we be discouraged, because the future is still bright for those who have the courage to confront hard truths and the confidence to stay the course."

Trudeau's appearance also coincided with World Environment Day. Other speakers at Niagara-On-The-Lake expressed a general sense of disappointment over the U.S. pullout but said their nation is ready to take the lead.

"If the U.S. administration is going to step back on climate action, Canada is going to step up and do even more," said Catherine McKenna, Minister for Environment and Climate Change. "And we're going to do it with the whole world."

She added that in spite of the Trump Administration's stance, there are still many partners within the U.S. who remain aboard.

"We're going to do it with U.S. businesses, we're going to do it with U.S. governors, we're going to be doing it with U.S. mayors, we're going to be doing it with other countries who have all stepped up. They know climate change is real, they know we need to act and that's exactly what we're all going to do and we're going to do it because we owe it to future generations."

U.S. political leaders who declared their intention to remain aligned with the guidelines of the Paris Climate Accord include Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Speakers noted that many major U.S. corporations had urged the White House to remain in the Paris agreement, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Though not mentioned at Niagara-On-The-Lake, ExxonMobil was also on record in support of the Paris Accord.

"Around the world, nearly every country is on our side," Trudeau said. "Business is on our side. Science is on our side. Together, our efforts will make a difference."

While speakers expressed disappointment, they urged the public not to feel entirely discouraged.

"There is no reason to panic," said Erik Solheim, executive director of UN Environment. "This is a setback. It will not destroy the Paris agreement."

The Prime Minister also appeared in Niagara Falls, Ontario Monday morning on the set of "Live with Kelly and Ryan," a U.S. television show that is broadcasting on location across the border Monday and Tuesday.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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