Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, told The Guardian that globalization isn’t working for “the middle class,” as he discussed the rise of president-elect Donald Trump during an interview in Ottawa on Thursday morning.
“What we’re facing right now — in terms of the rise of populism and divisive and fearful narratives around the world — it’s based around the fact that globalisation doesn’t seem to be working for the middle class, for ordinary people,” Trudeau told The Guardian in his office. “And this is something that we identified years ago and built an entire platform and agenda for governing on.”
Speaking about where he could find common ground with Trump, Trudeau said that there has been “real anxiety” over globalization and trade among the middle class in both the U.S. and Canada.
“There is an alignment there on our concerns,” Trudeau said, in reference to Trump. “That’s a significant opportunity for us to work together.”
Trudeau also discussed the Canadian economy — of which oil resources are a massive part — and his commitment to reducing emissions and fossil fuel consumption, as well as Trump’s stance on the issue.
“You cannot make a choice anymore on what’s good for the environment, and what’s good for the economy,” Trudeau said. He noted that leaders have to demonstrate that “middle class worry,” is being coupled with innovation and protection of the environment.
Trudeau said that Canada is well-positioned to “pick up some of the slack,” on leading climate change initiatives if Trump decides to pull out of international climate agreements, like the Paris accords.
“It’s a tremendous business opportunity to lead on climate change,” Trudeau said. He noted that one of the fundamental responsibilities of his office is to get “resources to market” in “sustainable ways.”
One major area where Trudeau and Trump can cooperate, according to Trudeau, is on pipelines that deliver Canadian oil to American markets — like the Keystone XL pipeline — which Trudeau called a “positive move.”
Trudeau noted that the traditional method of shipping crude oil by rail, is, “more expensive, more emitting, and more dangerous for communities,” than pipelines.
“On the question of that particular pipeline, I look forward to seeing what the president-elect has to say,” Trudeau said.
On a recent visit to Ottawa, Vice President Joe Biden said that, following Trump’s election and the rise of nationalist parties in Europe, the world needs Trudeau’s leadership, “very, very badly.”
Trudeau acknowledged this in The Guardian interview, saying that Canada can be “very helpful in modelling solutions that work,” and being “reasonable in how we engage with the rest of the world.”
“You can have engaged global perspectives and growth that works for everyone,” Trudeau said. “And if that growth works for the middle class, then that diffuses a lot of the uncertainty, the anger, the populism that is surfacing in different pockets of the world.”
Watch the full interview here:
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