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Liberals defend using two campaign planes, call Tories’ criticism a ‘far right tactic’

Click to play video: 'Federal Election 2019: Trudeau defends having second plane during campaign' Federal Election 2019: Trudeau defends having second plane during campaign
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau defended having a second plane during the campaign, saying it was used for cargo, but said they had purchased carbon offsets for planes and buses being used – Oct 3, 2019

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is defending his campaign’s use of two planes and suggesting the Conservative leader’s criticism over it is a “far-right tactic.”

Tory leader Andrew Scheer says Trudeau is showing hypocrisy on climate change by using two campaign planes — one for himself and staff, another for cargo.

Click to play video: 'Federal Election 2019: Scheer questions Trudeau campaign having two planes' Federal Election 2019: Scheer questions Trudeau campaign having two planes
Federal Election 2019: Scheer questions Trudeau campaign having two planes – Oct 3, 2019

Trudeau defended the accusation, saying the Liberals are buying carbon offsets for the campaign.

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He says the Conservative attack is a “well-established, far-right tactic” to discredit environmentalists.

The Liberal campaign says it’s in the process of purchasing the offsets and its total emissions will be known at the end of the campaign.

READ MORE: Reality check: Do carbon offsets work?

The general manager of the company selling carbon offsets to the Liberal campaign says there isn’t a better way currently to ease the greenhouse gas effect from airplanes.

Carbon offsets allow individuals or companies to pay to invest in projects like wind farms or tree planting to reduce overall emissions by the same amount they are producing elsewhere, usually by flying.

Sean Drygas, the general manager at Bullfrog Inc., says carbon offsets are a way to help reduce the climate impact from air travel because there aren’t any lower-emission alternatives to jet fuel.

Click to play video: 'Federal Election 2019: Climate change 3rd most important issue for voters, but almost half aren’t willing to pay to fight it' Federal Election 2019: Climate change 3rd most important issue for voters, but almost half aren’t willing to pay to fight it
Federal Election 2019: Climate change 3rd most important issue for voters, but almost half aren’t willing to pay to fight it – Sep 26, 2019

Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, says offsets are not ideal because there is no certainty the money is going to projects that wouldn’t be built without the offset revenues.

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However, Stewart also says he fears the question about the planes and carbon offsets is a major distraction from the conversations Canadians should be having in this campaign about policies to reduce emissions and address climate change.

—With a file from Abigail Bimman

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