Watch a family's encounter with our paddling prime minister
Published Monday, June 5, 2017 9:09PM EDT
Perched aboard a red and white kayak, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to the waters of Ontario’s Niagara River on Monday to celebrate World Environment Day.
“Any day I get to kick off with a paddle is a great day in my books,” Trudeau told reporters after landing ashore in the picturesque town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Still donning a lifejacket, T-shirt, shorts and sandals, the prime minister challenged Canadians to “get outside and to connect with nature.”
“Really connect with it,” Trudeau implored. “I’m talking about feeling the sun on your face, the warmth of the wind, the coolness of water.”
Trudeau also launched into an impassioned defence of the Paris climate agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of on June 1, much to the dismay of international leaders.
“Canada will not back down from our commitment to fight climate change -- and we’re not alone,” Trudeau said. “Around the world, nearly every country is on our side. Business is on our side. Science is on our side. And together, our efforts will make a difference.”
Trudeau’s remarks seemed especially pertinent on Monday, with the United States visible on the opposite shore of the river.
“We know that inaction is not an option,” he added. “We can’t walk away from the reality of climate change and we won’t walk away from a global plan that has a realistic chance of fighting it. We have a responsibility to future generations and we will uphold it.”
Trudeau counted Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and UN Environment chief Erik Solheim among his flotilla Monday.
In a video posted online by Twitter user Carrie Robinson, Trudeau even briskly paddles towards the shore to ask a family if rising water levels have affected their property.
“A little bit, yeah,” a male voice says off-camera. “This is the highest it’s been since we’ve been here.”
On both sides of the border, unprecedentedly high water levels in Lake Ontario are threatening thousands of homes this year.
Trudeau’s question was followed by some light banter
“They call this work, you know?” he joked.
Justin Trudeau just kayaked up to my house and talked to my parents? classic pic.twitter.com/gktVekiTMZ— carrie robinson (@carrierobinson_) June 5, 2017