British Columbia

Climate change still a priority in NAFTA talks: environment minister

Canada's environment minister says climate change is still a priority in talks with U.S. officials on NAFTA, despite President Donald Trump's recent threat to scrap the pact altogether

Catherine McKenna spoke at roundtable with Vancouver Board of Trade and provincial counterpart

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told the Vancouver Board of Trade that Canada won't back down from promoting its interests in NAFTA negotiations. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Canada's environment minister says climate change is still a priority in talks with U.S. officials on NAFTA, despite President Donald Trump's recent threat to scrap the pact altogether.

Trump told a rally in Arizona on Tuesday that the U.S. would "probably" end up terminating the North American Free Trade Agreement, just after formal negotiations began last week.

Climate change was already seen as a potential stumbling block in the negotiations, as Trump has previously called global warming a "hoax" and withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.

But Catherine McKenna says Trump's "heated rhetoric" won't stop Canada from promoting its interests, which include protecting its water, air, land and animals from the impacts of climate change.

McKenna was in Vancouver on Thursday to attend a roundtable meeting with members of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and to meet with British Columbia's environment minister, George Heyman.

She was asked about the B.C. government's plan to join a court challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and McKenna replied that the province can make its own decisions but Ottawa still supports the project.

"We do think that this project is going to create good jobs, it's going to help grow the economy and that it can be done in a sustainable way," she said.

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