As more families share, themes, patterns emerging in 1st MMIWG public hearings

As the long-awaited National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls goes into its second day of public hearings in Whitehorse, patterns and themes are beginning to emerge in families’ testimony.

Many of the dozens of family members who have already participated spoke of the damaging intergenerational effects of residential schools on themselves and their communities.

“That’s an overriding issue and it’s one almost that, from my perspective anyway, should be assumed a factor in all of the stories we hear,” said Marion Buller, the inquiry’s chief commissioner.

‘Not powerless’

Many families also spoke of having had poor relationships with police and other authorities, of not being taken seriously, or ignored.

May Bolton’s mother, Elsie Shorty, was shot dead 25 years ago at her family’s cabin.

Marion Buller

Chief commissioner Marion Buller arrives at the first public hearings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, underway in Whitehorse. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

“We’ve never even seen the police report, the only thing we know is my grandma was shot,” Bolton told commissioners.

“We have nothing, no knowledge of anything, regarding police and lawyers, no one came to talk to us.”

Buller said that in the next phase of the inquiry, police, coroner’s services and child welfare officials will all appear before the commission.

Although she admits the commission can’t order or force police services to re-open old cases, which many families have called for, it can make recommendations.

“We’re not powerless, in that sense.”

Marion Buller on MMIWG inquiry’s first days2:50

Landmark deal in RCMP sexual-harassment class action wins court approval

An unprecedented settlement that will pay up to $220,000 to women who were sexually harassed while working for the RCMP over the past 40 years has been approved by a Federal Court judge, who called the agreement fair and reasonable.

In a written decision, Judge Ann Marie McDonald called the settlement one that was in the women’s best interests, given that litigation might otherwise have dragged on for years with uncertain prospects as to an outcome.

“The proposed settlement has a number of features and benefits that extend beyond a strictly monetary compensation scheme and, as a result, the settlement agreement goes well beyond what the plaintiffs may have been awarded after a trial,” McDonald said.

“Considering the very personal and painful nature of the claims, the settlement process includes a non-adversarial claims process with numerous safeguards to protect the privacy of claimants.”

The deal covers all women harassed while working for the RCMP, starting in September 1974 when the force first began taking female recruits. Many of the women would otherwise now have had no legal recourse because of the passage of time.

Each victim is eligible for a minimum of $10,000, with $220,000 going to those most egregiously harmed. In some cases, close relatives can receive a total of 10 per cent of a claimant’s reward.

While as many as 20,000 women are believed eligible for compensation, the lawyers involved estimate more than 1,000 claimants will receive about $89 million. The government has set aside $100 million for the payouts, even though there is no total cap.

First class action of its kind in Canada

McDonald praised the agreement for including a public RCMP apology to the women — already delivered by Commissioner Bob Paulson in October — along with “institutional change initiatives” aimed at eradicating gender-based harassment.

Neither the RCMP nor the federal government explicitly admitted any wrongdoing.

The judge also agreed the two law firms involved should get 15 per cent of the claims paid to victims. The lawyers had initially signed on for 33.3 per cent. They agreed to cut that in half because the government is also paying them $12 million.

Megan McPhee, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, expressed pride at the outcome of the lawsuit.

“This is the first workplace gender-based harassment class action settlement in Canada,” McPhee said on Wednesday. “We’re hopeful that it will provide a model for people in other situations … where there has been harassment or deeply personal common injury.”

‘The toll has been horrific’

McDonald approved $15,000 in honoraria for two representative plaintiffs — Janet Merlo and Linda Davidson.

“This included publicizing their personal account of the gender and sexual-orientation harassment which they endured within the RCMP,” McDonald said. “This has required the public reliving of painful events.”

In an interview Wednesday, Davidson, 58, now of Bracebridge, Ont., said she had to speak out when she realized her attempts at internal redress were going nowhere and that many other women were “very silent” about what they were enduring.

At the same time, she said, it’s been a difficult path.

“My whole life has been exposed to every Canadian and American and anybody who wanted to read my most frail and intimate moments,” said Davidson, who started with the RCMP in 1985 and became one of the few women to become a commissioned officer. “It’s taken its toll. The toll has been horrific.”

Now retired after a medical leave, Davidson said what kept her going have been the messages from other RCMP women thanking her for helping ensure they have been believed.

After a 60-day obligatory appeal period — the government consented to the settlement — women will have six months to make a claim for compensation.

Former Supreme Court of Canada justice Michel Bastarache, who will travel the country to interview claimants, will oversee the process.

Owner of net-zero solar home has to pay tax on electricity he generates

Every aspect of Kris Currie’s home in New Dominion, P.E.I., was designed to minimize energy usage — from the thickness of the walls, to the position of the windows, to the choice of appliances, like a heat pump-powered clothes dryer.

Even the paint colour on the interior walls was chosen to reflect natural sunlight, so no lights have to be on during daytime.

The result is what’s known as a “net-zero home,” meant to generate all the power it needs over a year from the 35 solar panels on the roof.

What Currie didn’t know when he built the home is that “net-zero” doesn’t apply when it comes to the HST.

‘It’s nonsense’

Currie pays nothing to Maritime Electric for his electricity, but is still billed for the HST on every kilowatt hour used, just like any other customer.

“It’s nonsense really. It should be exempt,” Currie said. “We’re using it for heat, for one. Oil’s exempt. Now that we’re producing electricity we’re getting charged for it.”

Kris Currie solar panels

The 35 solar panels on Currie’s home are meant to generate all the electricity needed to power the home over the course of a year. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

While heating oil is exempt from HST on P.E.I., other energy sources for heating such as wood — or electricity — are not.

Currie is part of P.E.I.’s net metering program, which allows individual homeowners to generate their own electricity, sending any excess into the grid in exchange for credits so they don’t have to pay when they draw electricity back out of the grid — for example, at night when solar power can’t be generated.

Currie’s home is generating more electricity than it uses, feeding the excess into P.E.I.’s electricity grid, where it’s sold to other Maritime Electric customers — who pay HST on what they use.

Return on investment

For April, Currie’s bill shows he paid $13.49 HST on the 644 kilowatt hours of electricity he used — a third of the electricity his home produced over that period.

In the winter, when his electricity usage increases, Currie says he’ll be paying $50 or $60 a month in HST.

He said he spent an extra $46,000 to build a net-zero home, including HST paid on the solar panels themselves and the labour to have them installed, partly to save on his monthly bills, but also to reduce his family’s carbon footprint.

Kris Currie bill

Currie paid $13.49 in HST to Maritime Electric on his April bill. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

But he said the added tax means it will take longer for that investment to pay off, and that will discourage other homeowners from doing the same thing.

“Everybody’s on a cost basis when they go to build a house or retrofit a house or try and reduce their energy consumption,” he said.

“It all goes into cost at the end of the day, how many years payback will you get? …The quicker we can get a payback, the quicker this stuff’s going to get produced.”

Government review commissioned

The provincial government and Maritime Electric both told CBC News that federal tax law requires HST be charged to homeowners involved in net metering.

They said homeowners could claim back the HST by registering as a business, although Currie said his accountant advised him the extra costs and paperwork involved in doing that would cancel out the benefits.

Kris Currie meter

Currie paid HST on the 644 kilowatt hours of electricity he used in April, only a third of the electricity his home produced over that period. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

The provincial government did say it has commissioned a review of the electrical grid, which could lead to changes to the net-metering program.

P.E.I. man wants to know why he pays HST on electricity he generates himself

Every aspect of Kris Currie’s home in New Dominion was designed to minimize energy usage — from the thickness of the walls, to the position of the windows, to the choice of appliances like a heat pump-powered clothes dryer.

Even the paint colour on the interior walls was chosen to reflect natural sunlight, so no lights have to be on during the day.

The result is what’s known as a “net-zero home,” meant to generate all the power it needs over the course of a year from the 35 solar panels on the roof.

What Currie didn’t know when he built the home is that “net-zero” doesn’t apply when it comes to the HST.

‘It’s nonsense’

Despite the fact Currie pays nothing to Maritime Electric for his electricity, he’s still billed for the HST on every kilowatt hour used, just like any other customer.

“It’s nonsense really. It should be exempt,” Currie said. “We’re using it for heat, for one. Oil’s exempt. Now that we’re producing electricity we’re getting charged for it.”

Kris Currie solar panels

The 35 solar panels on Currie’s home are meant to generate all the electricity needed to power the home over the course of a year. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Currie is part of P.E.I.’s net metering program, which allows individual homeowners to generate their own electricity, sending any excess into the grid in exchange for credits so they don’t have to pay when they draw electricity back out of the grid—for example at night when solar power can’t be generated.

Right now Currie’s home is generating more electricity than it uses, feeding the excess into P.E.I.’s electricity grid, where it’s sold to other Maritime Electric customers — who pay HST on what they use.

Return on investment

For the month of April, Currie’s bill shows he paid $13.49 HST on the 644 kilowatt hours of electricity he used. That was only a third of the electricity his home produced over that period.

In the winter, when his electricity usage increases, Currie says he’ll be paying 50 or 60 dollars a month in HST.

He said he spent an extra $46,000 to build a net-zero home, including HST paid on the solar panels themselves and on the labour to have them installed, partly to save on his monthly bills but also to reduce his family’s carbon footprint.

Kris Currie bill

Kris Currie paid $13.49 in HST to Maritime Electric on his April bill. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

But he said the added tax means it will take longer for that investment to pay off, and that will discourage other homeowners from doing the same thing.

“Everybody’s on a cost basis when they go to build a house or retrofit a house or try and reduce their energy consumption,” he said.

“It all goes into cost at the end of the day, how many years payback will you get? …The quicker we can get a payback, the quicker this stuff’s going to get produced.”

Government review commissioned

The provincial government and Maritime Electric both told CBC News that federal tax law requires HST be charged to homeowners involved in net metering.

They said homeowners could claim back the HST by registering as a business, although Currie said his accountant advised him the extra costs and paperwork involved in doing that would cancel out the benefits.

Kris Currie meter

Kris Currie paid HST on the 644 kilowatt hours of electricity he used in April. That was only a third of the electricity his home produced over that period. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

The provincial government did point out it’s commissioned a review of the electrical grid, which could lead to changes to the net metering program.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer expected to plead guilty in nursing home killings

Elizabeth Wettlaufer, the former Woodstock, Ont., nurse accused of killing seniors in her care, is expected to plead guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder on Thursday, according to a family member of one of the alleged victims.

CBC News spoke to the family member, who heard about the development during a meeting with the Crown on Wednesday.

While they were told of Wettlaufer’s expected plea, there is still a slight possibility she could change her mind. 

Wettlaufer’s mother, Hazel Parker, told CBC News her daughter has asked that her parents not to be in court for her appearance tomorrow. They were instead planning speak to her Wednesday night by telephone from the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton, Ont. 

Parker said she is sworn to secrecy about what will happen in court.

She also said her daughter has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is receiving medication.

“What has been lost in the media is that had Beth not come forward, police never would have known any of this. She’s dealing with this the best she can,” Parker said. 

Media outlets were told Wednesday in an email from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General that “significant developments in this case are anticipated tomorrow.”

Wettlaufer waived her right to a preliminary hearing in April and instead opted to go straight to trial. 

The families of the patients in the case were also told Wettlaufer is expected to plead guilty to all charges, not just those related to the deaths. The families have been given victim impact statement forms to fill out.

She faces eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of seniors at two long-term care facilities in Woodstock and London, Ont. She has also been charged with four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer: ‘She was such a nice person’2:39

All of the incidents allegedly occurred between 2007 and 2014. Wettlaufer worked in long-term care homes in Woodstock, Paris, and London, often as the registered nurse in charge of the night shift.

Police have alleged that the deaths involved the use of drugs.

At a court appearance in April, Wettlaufer’s lawyer, Brad Burgess, said there will “almost certainly” be a change-of-venue application to move the trial out of Woodstock because of the media attention surrounding the case.

Her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment on tomorrow’s proceedings.

Crew fatigue played role in CP Rail train derailment in Calgary, TSB report finds

The Transportation Safety Board says employee fatigue and inadequate train handling led to a Canadian Pacific freight train derailment in southeast Calgary last year.

Thirteen cars went off the tracks on Feb. 18, 2016, at the Alyth yard in Inglewood as crews conducted a switching operation.

No one was hurt and no dangerous materials were spilled.

“Fatigue management” seems to have played a role, the TSB says.

“A crew member was likely fatigued after having had poor quality sleep in the two weeks prior and having been awake for 23 hours at the time of the occurrence,” the report said.

The TSB says ensuring workers are sufficiently rested is a shared responsibility.

“Employees have a responsibility to make every effort to report to work well rested while the company has a responsibility to provide a system that allows them to do so, including procedures to remove themselves from eligibility for duty without fear of discipline,” the report said.

Calgary Inglewood Train Derailment

The approximate location of the train derailment is indicated by the red oval on this map image. (Google Maps/CBC)

The board also concluded the locomotives were pulling too hard through a curve, and since the brakes at the back hadn’t been fully released, several wheels came off the rails, causing the cars to derail.

“While moving at approximately 2.5 mph over a short distance within the yard, a power increase in excess of the maximum throttle position for the area was applied,” the report said.

“Specific train handling requirements relating to the maximum locomotive throttle for the occurrence location were not followed.”

In an emailed statement to CBC News, CP said the company has received and reviewed the TSB report.

“The report makes no specific recommendations to CP around this incident,” said spokesperson Salem Woodrow.

The TSB’s mandate does not include the assignment of fault or determining criminal or civil liability.

Indigenous protesters ordered to pay oil giant thousands over pipeline legal battle

Todd Williams spent months sparring with Enbridge all over Hamilton, trying to disrupt the company’s pipeline operations. And now it’s costing him.

After a legal battle with the oil giant that centred on the company’s property rights versus Indigenous treaty and hunting rights, Williams and another Haudenosaunee man, Wayne Hill, were ordered by a Superior Court in Hamilton this month to pay Enbridge $25,381.81 in legal fees. The costs award comes after Enbridge won an injunction barring them from maintenance dig sites. 

Williams says that Enbridge has approached him with an offer to forgo those costs if he agrees to stay away, but he isn’t sure if he wants to sacrifice his principles.

He contests that Enbridge’s isn’t properly consulting with Aboriginal communities about maintenance work on its Line 10 pipeline, which runs through Hamilton — though Enbridge says otherwise.

“It’s about not allowing us to participate. We’re concerned about the land,” Williams said.

“We have rights — treaty rights.”

An Enbridge spokesperson said she couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case as it’s before the courts, but Senior Communications Adviser Suzanne Wilton told CBC News that “seeking legal remedies is always a last resort.”

“Safety is our top priority and these steps were necessary to ensure that preventative maintenance required for the continued safe operation of our pipeline could continue,” she said. “We would prefer to achieve mutually agreeable solutions through conversation.”

Blocking roads and tearing down fences

According to court documents filed as part of the injunction, Enbridge says that Williams and Hill have been “regularly interfering” with its work crews at maintenance dig sites along the pipeline since Jan. 26, 2017.

The documents say there have been “dozens” of incidents where Williams interfered with work crews, and at least six incidents involving Hill.

“Enbridge alleges that one or both of the defendants have torn down snow fences, blocked roads and gates, and have verbally demanded that work be shut down,” the documents say. “In one incident Mr. Williams blocked a maintenance dig site such that Enbridge employees working at the site could not leave until he was persuaded to move his truck.

“Enbridge alleges that after two weeks of obstruction the defendants placed rabbit traps to obstruct its access to certain maintenance dig sites, asserting treaty hunting rights.”

Rabbit trap

Williams says he used these kinds of traps at Enbridge dig sites in Hamilton. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Other protests have sprung up over Enbridge pipelines in Hamilton in recent years, including an occupation of the North Westover pump station in 2013.

Williams, who is an engineer, is part of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI), which is in turn part of the traditional Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council.

He wants Enbridge to notify the HDI of work along the pipeline, and to pay to have Haudenosaunee monitoring staff on worksites to make sure the work is being done safely and to environmental standards.

In court documents, Enbridge says that it wrote letters to two First Nations (Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit) and to HDI describing the nature of the work.

For Williams, that wasn’t enough. “We need more engagement, more consultation than just a notice,” he said.

Treaty rights versus property rights

Williams says he started camping out at sites and setting traps (which are humane cage traps), citing the Nanfan Treaty of 1701, which he says include his harvesting and hunting rights to the land.

In the end, the court found that Enbridge was entitled to an injunction restraining Williams and Hill from interfering with any dig sites.

“They determined their rights override my treaty rights. They’re pretty much saying I can’t have my treaty rights on private property,” Williams said.

“Well, when that agreement was signed, there was no private property.”

Williams said that ruling is not being appealed.

Wilson Street Enbridge

Workers were present at the Enbridge maintenance dig site on Wilson Street in Ancaster on Tuesday. (Adam Carter/CBC)

In the end, the two men are now on the hook for Enbridge’s legal costs — which amounts to $18,387.81 to Williams and $7,000 for Hill.

Williams says that he can dip into his retirement funds to pay it off, but that treaty rights and environmental safety are both bigger issues.

He also says that Enbridge has made an offer to forgive the costs award, if he stays away from the company’s work sites for two years.

Enbridge would not confirm or deny that offer when asked, citing the court proceedings.

“I’m considering it, but we’re talking about my rights and how they’re considered,” Williams said.

“If I get up and walk away, they’re just going to continue.”

adam.carter@cbc.ca

B.C. has no exclusive claim on its coast, Alberta premier warns pipeline foes

British Columbia cannot lay solitary claim to western tidewaters and must allow landlocked Alberta to have access to the coast for export markets, says Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

“At the end of the day, we can’t be a country that says one of its two functional coastlines is only going to do what the people who live right beside it want to do,” Notley said in an interview Wednesday with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.

“We have to be able to engage in international trade, and that’s what we’re doing.”

British Columbia’s New Democrats and Greens signed a four-year political manifesto Tuesday with a long list of ambitions to govern the province, including a plan to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

The $7.4-billion project would triple the capacity of the line, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., providing Alberta critical access to international export routes.

NDP Leader John Horgan, who would become B.C. premier under the agreement with the Greens, said both parties have a responsibility to “defend” the coastline and stop the pipeline.

The line, which opponents say would increase tanker traffic seven-fold off the West Coast, has faced opposition from environmental and Indigenous groups who fear increased crude oil exports would threaten B.C’s fragile coastal waters.

The province’s new political alliance has only added to those tensions.

Even before the alliance was announced, both federal and provincial leaders sparred over the pipeline proposal with Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, who downplayed any future economic benefits to B.C.. He told reporters the prospect that thousands of promised pipeline jobs would materialize was as likely as “unicorns in all our backyards.”

‘There is not really a Plan B’

Despite the aggressive political posturing among her counterparts to the west, Notley remained adamant the pipeline will proceed.

The pipeline has been approved by the National Energy Board and no province, or newly formed political alliance, has the power to veto those decisions.

It’s critical that Alberta oil be granted access to the B.C. coast, Notley reiterated on Wednesday.

Canada is made up of 10 provinces and three territories with a shared commitment to each other, Notley said.

“And that’s why our Constitution sets out that the federal government has the ultimate responsibility for infrastructure projects,” said Notley, who noted that her government has seen no need to draft any contingency plans for oilsands exports. 

“There is not really a Plan B. Once the decision is taken, the work will go forward.”

‘Letter of the law behind her’

Though Notley’s arguments are well-grounded in law, growing political tensions could still stymie progress on the expansion, warned Eric Adams, an associate professor of law at the University of Alberta.

Under the Constitution, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has the power to declare the project a “general advantage of Canada,” which would allow Ottawa to assume control.

But enacting those constitutional powers could trigger political outrage among provincial and municipal governments, which have wide-ranging jurisdictional powers, said Adams

“She’s got the letter of the law behind her,” Adams said of Notley’s arguments about the pipeline’s regulatory approval.

“But that doesn’t mean that B.C. doesn’t have its own jurisdiction to set its own conditions over environmental standards, over construction permits.”

The B.C. government could still create many regulatory impediments to the pipeline, through the courts and the environmental permit process, said Adams.

“I think we’re going to see a lot of tension and constitutional politics and maybe some litigation in the months and years [ahead] about where B.C. can set other kinds of conditions that makes life difficult for that pipeline. It’s a complicated picture.”

‘They just keep coming’: Tent caterpillar invasion coats Sask. home in insects — and feces

Hordes of tent caterpillars have covered Tammi Hanowski’s home south of Saskatoon and have crawled up the walls and made their way into her pool.

“No matter what you do — you’ll sweep them, you’ll vacuum them — and in 10 seconds it’s like they’re just there again,” Hanowski said. 

“Every time I come home from work, there’s just more piles of them everywhere.”

Hanowski first noticed the problem over the weekend. Though she had heard there was an abundance of caterpillars in Saskatoon, she didn’t think much of it since the tree line seemed far enough from her house.

But she now estimates there are hundreds of thousands of the crawlers surrounding her home.


“We used up all of the spray we that had but it was just pointless because they just keep coming,” she said. “You’re just going to spend all this money and all this time doing this.”

Tyler Wist, field crop entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, said the tent caterpillars plaguing Hanowski are likely looking for a new food source or are looking to pupate. If they pupate on her house, moths will emerge in a couple of weeks.

“It’s definitely the worst I’ve seen it,” he said.

Tent caterpillars

Tammi Hanowski thinks the biggest problem that will arise is cleaning off the fecal matter from her home. (Tammi Hanowski)

“We’re in a boom period for the tent caterpillar,” Wist said. They last about four to seven years and the area is probably in the middle of its boom. 

Wist added in particularly large infestations, such as in northern Saskatchewan, people are able to hear the fecal matter of the insects raining down on homes.

Hanowski said fecal matter is visible on her home and cleaning efforts will be her biggest concern. 

“At the moment, the way they’re moving around and they’re on her house, there’s no way to chemically control them because they’re not on their host trees anymore,” Wist said. 

Hanowski said she has contacted a company about using an industrial strength pesticide but she doesn’t know if that will work. 

“At this point, I don’t mind waiting out the whole ‘until they die thing,’ but it’s just the clean up after,” Hanowski said.

“They’re starting to smell.”

As U.S. weighs withdrawal, Canada still committed to Paris Accord, McKenna says

As the U.S. flirts with fleeing the Paris climate-change accord, Canada is aligning itself with the world’s other two largest economies to take a global leadership role on the effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna would only say Wednesday that Canada remains committed to the Paris Accord, refusing to speculate about U.S. President Donald Trump’s musings about withdrawing from the agreement.

“Canada’s just going to keep marching on, like the rest of the world,” McKenna told an event in Toronto.

Trump has said climate change is a “hoax” and campaigned on a promise to withdraw from the Paris agreement. He has apparently been pondering what to do about that promise since the November election.

On Wednesday, a White House official said Trump is indeed expected to withdraw the U.S. from the accord, but may use “caveats in the language” when the time comes — leaving open the possibility that the decision isn’t final, according to the official, who insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the decision before the official announcement.

Trump

President Donald Trump has tweeted that he will release his decision on remaining in the Paris Accord on climate this week. (The Associated Press)

“I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days,” Trump tweeted Wednesday amid media reports that a withdrawal was looming.

McKenna has said what the U.S. chooses to do is up to the U.S., but Canada won’t wait.

Canada may host meeting

Last week in Germany, McKenna met with Chinese special envoy for climate change Xie Zhenhua and European Union environment commissioner Karmenu Vella, where they discussed jointly hosting a meeting of environment ministers this fall to chart a path for implementing Paris among the world’s major economies.

It very likely will take place in Canada, around the same time as the United Nations General Assembly, which starts in New York City on Sept. 12.

Currently the U.S. is not part of that group.

“Canada is going to show leadership with China and the EU and we certainly hope the U.S. will be joining us,” McKenna told The Canadian Press in a recent interview.

China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, responsible for almost 30 per cent of global emissions in 2016, and recently recommitted to its Paris targets. The U.S. is the second-largest emitter, contributing about 15 per cent, followed by the EU, responsible for about 10 per cent.

Canada’s emissions amount to about 1.6 per cent of global greenhouse gases.

Agreement in effect since November

The Paris agreement was reached in December 2015 to reduce emissions, adapt to climate change and pay for mitigation measures. All 195 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed the agreement; of those, 147 — including Canada — have ratified it. The agreement came into effect in November 2016.

Withdrawing from Paris would leave the U.S. aligned only with Russia among the world’s industrialized economies in rejecting action to combat climate change.

During Trump’s overseas trip last week, other G7 leaders including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pressed him to keep the U.S. in the pact. German Chancellor Angela Merkel did little to contain her frustration at the American position.

Italy G7

US President Donald Trump shares a word with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, as Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi listens, at the G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy on Saturday. (Flavio Lo Scalzo/ANSA/Associated Press)

McKenna told the Canadian Press the rest of the world doesn’t intend to sit and wait for Trump.

“I think there is a general sense that it would be better for the U.S. to be part of the discussions and to be at the table, but that’s a decision for the United States to make,” she said.

“Many times I’ve made the argument that climate action actually creates jobs and creates growth, which is what the United States want, what Canada wants — it’s what every country wants.

“They’re going to make their own decision, but we all need to be moving forward.”

McKenna said it was clear to her in Berlin that everyone else at the table is on board.

“That’s what I’ve seen pretty loud and clear that this is a situation where countries get it and they’re going to move forward on climate action.”

Aims of the Paris agreement include keeping the average global increase in temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and mitigating against the impacts of climate change.

Canada’s commitments under the agreement are to reduce annual emissions to 30 per cent less than they were in 2005 by 2030.