Trudeau and French PM Renew Climate Deal

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal have renewed a joint pledge on climate and environmental policies. 

The renewal of the “Canada–France Climate and Environment Partnership,” represents a “shared commitment to supporting the fight against climate change by promoting and implementing the Paris Agreement,” said a statement from Ottawa.

The two leaders met in Ottawa April 11 for the second time during Mr. Attal’s first official visit to Canada to reinforce bilateral ties. They also answered questions from reporters on issues ranging from trade to election interference.

Both leaders also praised the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) during a press conference.

“CETA is a win-win agreement between Canada and France and Canada and Europe,” Mr. Attal said, adding that trade between the two countries has grown by roughly one-third in the last six years.

He noted the CETA agreement has failed to pass the French Senate saying both the left and the right in the Senate “now seem to be turning their backs on it” just months ahead of the European Parliament elections.

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“There would be a good deal to lose in the French economy, basically for our two economies, if this were not fully applied,” he said.

Foreign Interference

Both leaders answered questions from reporters on foreign interference in their respective countries.

Russian interference in France’s democratic process is a “very important issue,” Mr. Attal said, adding a “push back” on false information shared on social media is “absolutely” necessary.

Mr. Trudeau said his government established various mechanisms to protect election integrity in response to Russian actions.

While the two government leaders focused on Russia, no evidence presented to the Canadian Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference suggests Russia played a role in election interference in Canada.

Canadian security officials who testified at the public inquiry were asked about the matter and said it had not been detected.

The mechanisms did detect foreign interference from China in 2019 and 2021, but bureaucrats said a threshold was never met to warn the public. The Liberal Party was briefed by CSIS in each contest about foreign interference activities.

Former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole testified at the public inquiry he believes his party lost as many as nine ridings in the 2021 election due to foreign interference campaigns from the Chinese regime.

Mr. Trudeau was also questioned on April 11 about push back from both himself and his close advisers at the public inquiry against intelligence from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). The spy agency has briefed ministers multiple times in recent years about Chinese interference.

The prime minister said he has “tremendous confidence” in those who serve in Canada’s national security institutions but added a leader should not simply be a “passive receiver” of intelligence. 

“We have a role to play in asking questions, on thinking critically around encouraging further work, on questioning sources, and pulling out contradictions,” he said.

In his April 10 testimony before the inquiry, Mr. Trudeau said he does not read intelligence briefings but, rather, is briefed verbally.

The CSIS intelligence suggested Chinese regime officials had expressed a preference for a Liberal government. Mr. Trudeau said he thought it “very improbable that the Chinese government itself would have a preference in the election.”

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