B.C. welcomes Trudeau’s climate, infrastructure plans

Premier Christy Clark avoids comment on Justin Trudeau's deficit spending and marijuana legalization promises

Premier Christy Clark says she is looking forward to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joining premiers at the next UN climate conference in Paris.

Premier Christy Clark is emphasizing cooperation with the new Liberal government in Ottawa on climate change and infrastructure spending, while avoiding comment on plans to run deficits and legalize marijuana.

Clark said Tuesday she is looking forward to having Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accompany premiers to Paris at the end of November for the next United Nations climate conference. Trudeau said Tuesday he is looking forward to changing Canada’s reputation as a “less than enthusiastic actor” on climate policy, but he wants provinces to take the lead.

Clark said B.C. will outline its “Climate 2.0” plan before leaving, and it will add to the carbon tax on fossil fuels with measures aimed at the “built environment” and other ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Trudeau’s infrastructure plan is in “complete alignment” with B.C.’s efforts to grow the economy, with BC Hydro alone spending $2.5 billion a year over the next decade, Clark said.

She sidestepped a question on Trudeau’s deficit plans, noting that a prime minister has to govern for all provinces and B.C. is “an outlier” with operating budget surpluses and projected growth.

Clark was even more cautious with Trudeau’s plans to legalize and regulate marijuana, as Vancouver and other cities grapple with unregulated medical pot dispensaries.

“If and when they make changes, we’ll work with them to make sure that the changes can be effective in B.C.,” she said.

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan shrugged off his federal party’s big setback in the federal election, consoling himself with an increase of two NDP MPs in B.C. The NDP’s Gord Johns won the new riding of Courtney-Alberni, defeating long-time Conservative MP John Duncan for an NDP sweep of Vancouver Island, except for Green Party leader Elizabeth May in Saanich-Gulf Islands.

“I’m also delighted that the country voted for change in massive numbers,” Horgan said. “And that’s good news for me as well, because in 2017 there’s going to be a desire for change.”