Canada’s new prime minister to strengthen country’s climate policies

Canada PM Justin Trudeau elp

TORONTO (AP) — With a host of policies that differ dramatically from his predecessor, Justin Trudeau's victory over the most conservative leader in Canada's history will reverberate beyond the country's borders.

Among the other areas in which Trudeau differs from Conservative Stephen Harper: climate change, immigration and whether relations with the U.S. should hinge on the future of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The White House said Obama called to congratulate Trudeau on Tuesday afternoon and said in a statement the two leaders "committed to strengthening the countries' joint efforts to promote trade, combat terrorism and mitigate climate change."

Trudeau's victory will likely improve ties with the United States, at least for the remainder of Obama's presidency. Harper was frustrated by Obama's reluctance to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas and clashed with the president on other issues, including the Iran nuclear deal.

Although Trudeau supports the Keystone pipeline, he argues relations should not hinge on the project.

"Theoretically, Justin is for Keystone, but he can obviously jettison that," Bothwell said of the project, which Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton recently expressed opposition to. Republican contenders are for the project.

Trudeau has also vowed to consult the premiers of Canada's provinces in an effort to come up with a plan ahead of the Paris climate talks in November.

Under Harper, Canada pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, the emissions reduction program for rich countries, and the Conservative leader was perceived by environmentalists as more interested in protecting Canada's oil-rich region of Alberta — which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world — than efforts to stem the effects of climate change.

"Canada's days of being a less-than-enthusiastic actor on the climate-change file are behind us," Trudeau told the news conference in Ottawa.

Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said Canadian diplomats are delighted at Trudeau's election because Harper never let them speak without checking with the government first. "They've been totally marginalized. They've been told 'We don't care what you think,'" Wiseman said.

Harper, whose nearly 10 years as prime minister makes him one of the longest-serving Western leaders, will step down as Conservative leader after the crushing defeat, his party said.

During the campaign, Trudeau re-energized the Liberal Party, which suffered its worst electoral defeat four years ago, winning just 34 seats and finishing third behind the traditionally weaker New Democrat Party.

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