Canada: Liberal Leader Rules Out Coalition

Justin Trudeau rules out coalition with NDP, says

‘immediate action’ needed on climate change

Video thumbnail for Trudeau pledges annual meeting with premiers if he wins election

Mark Kennedy, Postmedia News | December 19, 2014 | Last Updated: Dec 19 9:51 PM ET
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Liberal leader Justin Trudeau ruled out a coalition government, called climate change a serious threat and promised a national inquiry into murdered and missing women in a wide-ranging, year-end interview with Postmedia’s Mark Kennedy in his Parliament Hill office on Friday. Here is what he said:

Coalition with the NDP

There is constant political speculation about what Mr. Trudeau will do if Mr. Harper is re-elected with a minority government. Will Mr. Trudeau topple the Tories in Parliament and form a coalition government with the NDP’s Tom Mulcair?

“There are some very, very big impediments to forming a coalition with the NDP. Which is why I am against it.” He said the two parties are miles apart on issues such as international trade and the Constitution.

“With regard to constitutional issues and Quebec, I don’t think we should be making it easier for the country to separate.”

Missing and murdered indigenous women

The prime minister has rejected calls from aboriginal leaders and premiers for an inquiry into the problem. Mr. Trudeau said he has no such hesitation.

He said he recently met with 16-year-old Rinelle Harper, who was assaulted and left for dead on a riverbank in Winnipeg.

“I promised her that I would open an inquiry,” he said, adding that too many aboriginals believe the government would be acting differently if it were non-indigenous women who were being killed. “This is a serious and real tragedy.”

Mr. Trudeau rejected, as “baseless” the prime minister’s argument that an inquiry would learn nothing new. “If we knew what we needed to do, we’d be doing it.”

 Climate change

He said climate change “is a real and serious threat to people, to our economy, to our global stability. And it’s something that Canada, like all countries, has a responsibility to respond to.”

Mr. Trudeau said “immediate action” is required, citing weather events such as flooding in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and coastal storms as proof that the effects of climate change are already present.

“We have committed to putting a price on carbon.”

 The premiers

“A Liberal government will hold a first ministers’ conference every single year,” said Mr. Trudeau.

By comparison, Mr. Harper has rarely called premiers together for a conference and often doesn’t publicize his one-on-one meetings with individual premiers.

Mr. Trudeau said this must change. “Understanding what federalism is all about is the fact that even though we are different orders of government, we all serve the same citizens. And the challenges that our citizens are facing require reflection and co-operation in order to meet them. And trying to score political points because of differing ideologies, I think, is weakening our system.”

Mr. Trudeau noted that Mr. Harper has refused to meet Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne for more than a year. He said that if he governed and an individual premier requested a meeting, he would grant it.

“The fact that this prime minister doesn’t get along with anyone who doesn’t share his particular ideology has hurt us not just across the country with premiers, but on the international stage as well.”

Postmedia News

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