Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holds hands with President-elect Joe Biden and her husband Doug Emhoff as they celebrate, in Wilmington, Del., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. Federal cabinet ministers are welcoming Joe Biden election as the next U.S. president as an opportunity to advance the fight against climate change. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Andrew Harnik

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holds hands with President-elect Joe Biden and her husband Doug Emhoff as they celebrate, in Wilmington, Del., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. Federal cabinet ministers are welcoming Joe Biden election as the next U.S. president as an opportunity to advance the fight against climate change. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Andrew Harnik

Ottawa welcomes president-elect Joe Biden as ally in climate fight

Trump administration had been lagging on climate change issues

Federal cabinet ministers are welcoming Joe Biden’s election as the next U.S. president as an opportunity to advance the fight against climate change after four tumultuous years dealing with Donald Trump.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna were among those to specifically mention climate change as they welcomed Biden’s victory over the weekend.

McKenna also appeared to take a veiled shot at the Trump administration as she noted Biden’s promise to have the U.S. rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement after the country formally left the treaty last week.

“This is really sinking in,” McKenna, who previously served as Canada’s environment minister, wrote on Twitter. “It’s been a long, tough slog these past four years internationally on climate action.”

For his part, Wilkinson said Canada “stands ready and willing to work constructively with the U.S. to create good jobs for citizens on both sides of the border while taking strong action to address the climate crisis.”

The Trudeau government’s enthusiasm for Biden’s climate-change policies are well-founded, experts said, and could even provide a boost to Canada’s efforts as it seeks to move faster on the issue.

In the last four years, Canada has in some places slowed or amended its own environment policies to reflect concerns American companies facing fewer environmental regulations and taxes might hurt Canada’s competitiveness.

But Blair Feltmate, who headed the Canadian government’s expert panel on climate change adaptation, said Biden’s election should serve as a “shot in the arm” for the Trudeau government’s ambitions to build a greener economy.

That includes both adaptation in terms of working together on infrastructure as well as mitigation in terms of regulation and rolling out of greener technology and energy, all of which Biden has promised to tackle.

“What does the Biden presidency mean to Canada?” said Feltmate, who is head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo.

“I think it will underscore for Canada that the direction we’ve been heading in on the climate file is correct. But the speed at which we’re deploying on the climate file has not been adequate.”

Sara Hastings-Simon, whose many roles include serving as a member of the expert panel on clean growth for the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, agreed that Biden’s presidency has put climate change on the “main stage.”

“One of the things I think will change in the U.S., which will impact Canada, is that climate will be woven into economic policy and the stimulus across all dimensions,” she said. “That really creates an urgency for Canada not to fall behind.”

Yet Biden’s election is also expected to pose a further challenge to Canada’s oil and gas sector, starting with the president-elect having indicated he plans to cancel approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgins on Sunday joined Alberta counterpart Jason Kenney in referencing Canadian energy exports to the U.S. as well as the ongoing softwood lumber dispute as he congratulated Biden on his win.

“We have an important trade relationship with the United States as a leading supplier of refined energy products,” Higgins said in a statement.

“We also supply significant amounts of softwood and other forestry products and have been hampered by an unjustified softwood lumber dispute.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told the CBC in an interview aired Sunday that protecting Keystone XL and other energy exports to the U.S. is a top priority for the Liberal government.

“We’re going to be making our case, saying that Canada is the most reliable energy supplier to the United States,” he said on Rosemary Barton Live. “This is true for Keystone XL. This is true for electricity in the East Coast.”

While Feltmate said he expects Biden would press ahead with cancelling Keystone, but that there would be a focus on retraining and other efforts to protect jobs as Canada and the U.S. transition to greener energy sources.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadaClimate changeJoe Biden

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

FILE – Residents of the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory southwest of Montreal continue to monitor a blockade leading to blocked railroad tracks that pass through their community as they protest in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs on Sunday, March 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter McCabe
B.C. Supreme Court rejects Wet’suwet’en bid to toss LNG pipeline certificate

Opposition last year by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs set off Canada-wide rail blockades

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Most Read