Canada’s International Environmental Policy: Trudeau’s Trifecta of Challenges

  • Debora Van Nijnatten
Part of the Canada and International Affairs book series (CIAF)


The Trudeau government currently confronts a complex bundle of challenges as it seeks to follow through on an ambitious and activist international environmental policy agenda. The first is how Canada can pursue its objectives given an unpredictable and environmentally unfriendly neighbour to the south. The Trump Effect throws into stark relief Canada’s continuing struggle to balance bilateralism and multilateralism in its foreign environmental policy, yet the current situation is also unique in terms of its severity. This first and fundamental challenge is interwoven with Canada’s long-standing internal debate about the appropriate balance between economic pragmatism and environmental ideals in its foreign policy, particularly as the new US administration threatens to upend existing trade and economic relationships. Canada must also decide where to look to find alternative strategic partners for its multilateral environmental efforts. While a series of overtures have been made to China, particularly in terms of fostering alternative energy markets, Latin America—via Mexico—offers opportunities as well. This chapter explores each of these dynamics and also shows the ways in which they are interlinked. It also portrays a strategic and committed Trudeau government which has responded, thus far, quite nimbly to changing conditions on this file.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debora Van Nijnatten
    • 1
  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

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