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Transport Minister Garneau at ITF summit; reaffirms commitment to “putting a price on carbon”


LEIPZIG, Ger.—Canada’s Transport Minister, the Honourable Marc Garneau, participated in a panel discussion May 18 at the International Transport Forum annual summit opening plenary session.

He opened the panel discussion, moderated by journalist Ali Aslan, with a recollection of how his former life as an astronaut coloured his outlook on the environment.

“It has had a profound effect on me in a number of ways. The atmosphere (viewed from space) that permits life is such a thin layer, and we need to take care of it,” Garneau said.

Commenting on his second and third flights into space, Garneau said that he made it a point to take note of the effects of deforestation and industrialization in various parts of the world, “very much evidence that as we move toward the middle of this century, that we will put more pressure on this planet.”

Taking this into consideration is his approach to his current portfolio, he said.

Canada has made a commitment to financially assist emerging economies to meet greener goals, to help them avoid mistakes that developed economies have made, such as creating car-dependent cultures, Minister Garneau said.

But a change of attitude in Canada is also important, and “we are becoming aware that we must put a price on carbon. We are also making an unprecedented undertaking in the next ten years to public transport,” he said.

“We can call it different things but ultimately when produce carbon and we need to recognize that and to pay for it,” he commented during the panel discussion.

Canada has clean sources of electricity and electrification of our transport system is a priority, he said.

“We must also take a leadership position in international shipping and aviation,” Garneau said in support of organizations such as the International Maritime Organization.

‘Efficient, safe and green’ were the three words Garneau was told he needed to become familiar with upon becoming Transport Minister some six months ago. While efficient and safe are the “no-brainers”, Garneau said, “we have to prove to ourselves and to the world that we are serious about that third word, green.”