It’s ‘not nothing’: Trudeau defends climate change action

Click to play video: 'Federal leaders’ debate: Trudeau, Singh spar over climate action targets'
Federal leaders’ debate: Trudeau, Singh spar over climate action targets
WATCH ABOVE: Federal leaders' debate: Trudeau, Singh spar over climate action targets – Sep 9, 2021

The Liberal government has taken action on climate change and the environment over the past six years in office and any claims to the contrary are both cynical and false, party leader Justin Trudeau said Saturday.

The remarks came at a morning campaign appearance in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ont., where Trudeau accused the New Democrats and Green Party of trying to pretend the Liberals haven’t taken any action on the issues.

Trudeau argued that a price on pollution, a ban on single-use plastics and protecting more land and water “is not nothing.”

“I think it’s been a shock to those who have actually been paying attention, and watching closely and listening to experts that neither the NDP, nor the Green Party have put forward a real plan to fight climate change in this election,” Trudeau said.

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“And instead of explaining why they get a failing grade from experts on their plan to fight climate change. They’re trying to drag everyone else down.”

Trudeau is leaning heavily on the analyses of energy economist Mark Jaccard and former British Columbia Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, who both ranked the Liberal climate plan ahead of the other parties.

Jaccard said while the NDP plan targets bigger cuts to emissions than the Liberals, their plan is a big target with “magical outcomes” containing not enough detail to show a path to meeting the target or how much doing so would cost.

As the campaign nears the sprint to the finish line, Trudeau is trying to convince voters who care about climate change that the Conservative plan is a step backwards and the NDP and Green plans represent vague, magical thinking.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau targets progressive voters in final stretch of election campaign'
Trudeau targets progressive voters in final stretch of election campaign

Singh said Saturday Trudeau cannot be trusted on the environment.

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“We’ve got six years of evidence to look at, in the past six years, he has shown really clearly he is not going to fight this climate crisis,” he said.

Singh and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole both say Trudeau’s six years in power have only resulted in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Canada’s emissions grew about three per cent between 2015 and 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Many of the Liberal climate policies were barely getting started by 2019, including the carbon price plan which began being enforced that April.

Trudeau’s campaign stop took place in a city in the Greater Toronto Area where the Liberals won all six seats in 2019.

The GTA region, and particularly the 905-cities like Mississauga, Brampton, Richmond Hill and Markham, are critical to this campaign. The Liberals won most of them in 2019, and can’t afford to lose many if they want to hang on to power.

O’Toole is making a hard push to take 905 ridings from the Liberals, and was also campaigning in the area in the last two days.

Trudeau shifted his own focus to Quebec later Saturday, visiting two Bloc Quebecois-held ridings on the outskirts of Montreal.

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While Trudeau is playing a lot of defence in Ontario, in Quebec the party is still confident it can pick up seats.

At an apple orchard in Mont-Saint-Gregoire Trudeau was enthusiastically mobbed by families out for a fall activity.

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