Much like climate change, the effects of Donald Trump's election will not stay on the southern side of the U.S.-Canada border.
There have already been hate crimes since the American election results and, as David Suzuki told The Huffington Post Canada, Trump's anti-diversity and "frightening" campaign rhetoric is being echoed by Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch and her party.
"Trump's campaign really was based on the rejection of facts and rationality," Suzuki said, connecting U.S. Republican candidates' climate change denial during their primary season with a similar stance by Canada's Conservative party leadership contenders.
"We had the recent debate among Conservatives and Michael Chong got up and said he favoured some kind of carbon tax and he was booed. Other candidates said, 'No, no no, climate change is not an issue,' and they were cheered. So you begin to think, 'Hey wait a minute, what's going on here?'"
That said, Suzuki doesn't think that Trump's presidency will be able to cause too much damage on the climate change front. He said that delegates to this month's Marrakesh Climate Change Conference in Morocco were "absolutely stunned" by Trump's election. But they won't give up.
"It will harden their resolve and they will go it without the United States," he said. "It will not be as easy as he thinks just to throw everything out the window. China is saying they can’t just reject and walk away, that's big, because China was always saying no, we can't do anything our economy hasn’t grown enough.
"Of course, they know they're killing 3,000 Chinese a day from air pollution from burning fossil fuels so they have incentive to get on the right side."
Environmental activist David Suzuki is speaking out against Trump-like policies crossing the Canadian border.
Suzuki said he is very concerned about the possibility of a Trump-like candidate getting elected here in Canada.
"We can't just pat ourselves on the back and say it couldn't happen here. Kellie Leitch's candidacy now for the Conservatives is really riding on the back of the Trump approach — that we can become exclusionary, that we can define what is a Canadian value and that we should be testing people and rejecting them," Suzuki said.
But he added that actual Canadian values have proven to be the opposite of Leitch's anti-immigration approach, and not just with the recent wave of Syrian refugees, either.
"I feel very proud of the fact that during the boat people crisis in Vietnam, Canada again stepped up," said Suzuki of former Conservative prime minister Joe Clark bringing in 60,000 Vietnamese refugees in the late 1970s.
"Our past has indicated that we do value diversity, we're an open society, but the fact that you’ve got a major party candidate with this position, I find shocking."
"We can't just pat ourselves on the back and say it couldn't happen here.”
Don't think the environmentalist icon is only going after the Conservatives, though. While the father of four daughters says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's gender-equal cabinet still deserves to be celebrated, Suzuki is holding Trudeau to his environmental campaign promises.
"I was cheering him," Suzuki said of Trudeau's performance at last year's COP21 climate change conference in Paris.
"But now the rubber does hit the road and he has made some decisions that simply aren't on if he's serious about climate change, and I’ve chastised him about that, too."
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