Quebec can develop its economy and fight climate change, Legault says


QUEBEC — Don’t ask Premier François Legault to choose which climate change vision he believes in — the one backed by Greta Thunberg’s or that of U.S. President Donald Trump?

He’d rather not take sides.

Moments before taking a flight Tuesday to Davos, Switzerland — where Thunberg and Trump are already sparring over climate change at the World Economic Summit — Legault said he sees Quebec as somewhere in the middle of the kerfuffle.

“I am in the balanced clan,” Legault told reporters when asked whom he prefers. “I think we need to be able to create wealth in Quebec because we have some catching up to do, but we must make more effort to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

The Coalition Avenir Québec was criticized during the 2018 election campaign for barely mentioning the environment and climate change. On Tuesday, Legault said industrialized countries like the United States and Asia must do more to save the planet.

Legault made the remarks just hours before heading to Davos. Quebec premiers have attended the summit for the last 30 years in an attempt to stimulate foreign investment in the province.

Legault’s economic pledge during the election campaign was to double private investment in Quebec. In a statement released after his departure Tuesday, Legault said he wants to make Quebec “the best place in the world to invest.”

The theme of the conference is Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.

Thunberg and Trump are already there, both making waves in their own manner.

Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg leaves the stage during a session at the 50th World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

In her remarks to the world’s business elite, Thunberg accused those gathered of being all talk, no action on climate change.

Her remarks contrasted with those of Trump. He used his speech to tout the benefits of soaring American oil and gas production and make a thinly veiled attack on those who warn about looming environmental catastrophe.

Legault will be at the summit until Jan. 24.

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