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Mulcair, Trudeau Promise To Work With Provinces In Paris Climate Talks

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OTTAWA — Germany wants Canada to make an "ambitious" contribution in the fight against climate change at the international summit in Paris in December.

Werner Wnendt, Germany's ambassador to Canada, said climate change may not be a central issue in the current federal election, but it will be for whoever wins the Oct. 19 vote.

"That would be my hope — that Canada after the election will be an important and somewhat ambitious part of the process, or player in the process," Wnendt told The Canadian Press in a recent interview.

"What I hope to see from any new Canadian government is that they support this. Canada is much too important not to participate in this together with some ambition together with our North American partner, the United States and of course with the European partners."

Germany is working with France to make a major breakthrough in December in the battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to a two-degree target.

Wnendt chose his words carefully, saying it wasn't his place as a foreign diplomat to weigh in on Canadian affairs during an election. The French embassy declined all comment, saying it would be make no public statements during the campaign.

French officials have been outspoken in the last year, saying they hoped to see a robust public debate in Canada during the election — something which doesn't seem to have happened.

The issue reared its head Tuesday when the NDP and Liberal leaders pledged to make Canada a player in Paris.

Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau said they would work to restore Canada's international reputation on the environment, which they say Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has damaged.

At separate events, Mulcair and Trudeau also promised to partner with provincial premiers at the talks, saying they would bring them to France to present a united front on reducing greenhouse gas emissions — and rehabilitating Canada's image.

"Canada under Stephen Harper has been working against the planet," Mulcair said. "We've got to start working with the world.

"Dealing with global warming is one of the most important challenges that the next prime minister of Canada will have to face."

Trudeau said he has already consulted with some premiers about partnering in Paris, saying they have stepped up on climate change while Harper has been a laggard.

"We will go to Paris united as a country in our desire to reduce our emissions in a significant and serious way to show that Canada is ready to do its part to prevent the world from reaching two degrees of catastrophic increase."

Climate change didn't come up during daily Harper's five-question media availability on Tuesday.

Harper has played down climate change during the campaign, saying he sees the economy and security as the main issues.

However, he said earlier this month he would take part in the Paris conference and was optimistic about its outcome.

Earlier Tuesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley told CBC radio her province's reputation has suffered because previous governments have not done enough to reduce greenhouse gases from the province's oilsands.

The NDP premier, who ended more than 40 years of Progressive Conservative rule in the province in May, said she's hoping to change that when a panel of experts reports back with recommendations.

"What we need to do is put together a credible, science-based plan that will sustain the review of experts that bends the curve and sets Alberta on the right path."

Wnendt said European leaders expect to see at least five Canadian premiers, as well as mayors, at the Paris talks.

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