Coderre tackles global warming, Trump as mayors gather in Montreal
Published Tuesday, June 20, 2017 10:33AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 21, 2017 8:01AM EDT
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre welcomed his counterparts from around the world to his city with some warm words for them and some harsher ones for US President Donald Trump.
Montreal is playing host to the twenty-second Metropolis conference, which is being attended by the mayors of 140 cities from around the world and close to 1,300 other delegates. The goal of the meeting is to allow mayors to discuss issues that affect cities everywhere.
Among those issues is that of climate change and Coderre didn’t hold back in criticizing Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which has been signed onto by every other country in the world other than Syria and Nicaragua.
"I'd like to thank President Trump because of his nonsense, because in Canada and Quebec and Montreal, we believe that we should build bridges, not walls" said Coderre. "And we will make sure, in our own declaration, that the Mayors of the world will take our responsibility and if there's some people who doesn't want it, we will make it happen, and trust me the mayors will be able to deliver that Accord of Paris."
Since Trump announced his decision, many American states and cities have said they will continue to abide by the accord no matter the actions of the federal government in the U.S.
Other leaders backed up Coderre, including Jean Roatta, deputy mayor of the French city of Marseille.
“Trump is wrong and the mayor of Montreal is right to call him out,” he said.
Coderre said cities are the level of government where the most immediate action can be taken and meetings like Metropolis allow for an exchange of ideas while allowing for the freedom to shape policy according to local circumstances.
“We don’t want to have an ethno-centric point of view, it’s not one size fits all,” he said. “At the same time, it’s a global think, local act issue.”
Among the mayors in attendance who said finding ways to combat climate change is on their priority list was Kiev’s Vitali Klitschko. The former world heavyweight boxing champion said his city has been working hard to lessen its dependence on oil.
“We provide, right now, electric municipal transport and we’re making good conditions for private electrical transport also,” he said.
Trudeau, Coderre, Hidalgo talk
The day's marquee event was a roundtable discussion involving Coderre, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. That talk, too, largely focused on how cities can reduce their carbon footprint.
Trudeau said that during Stephen Harper's time as prime minister the federal government was less concerned with showing leadership on climate change, but Canadian provinces and cities took the initiative to reduce emissions on their own.
"In the absence of leadership by the federal government, it's still possible to make concrete gains in the lives of our citizens," he said.