More than a year after Justin Trudeau pledged to plant two billion trees by 2030, the natural resources department says there’s no plan or budget to implement the program.
During a meeting last week of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources, assistant deputy minister of natural resources Beth MacNeil told MPs that no plan to plant the trees exists yet.
“I do not have a detailed plan at this time. We are awaiting a budget,” MacNeil said.
“It’s shameful there is no plan,” replied Conservative MP Rachael Harder. “This was supposed to start in 2020. It obviously has not.”
This follows a report from September suggesting the Liberal government had yet to plant a single tree.
This stands in stark contrast to the clear pledge Trudeau made during the 2019 election on the heels of his meeting with Swedish truant and activist Greta Thunberg.
“We’ll plant 2 billion trees over the next ten years. That’s it. That’s the tweet,” tweeted Trudeau on September 27, 2019.
The government would now have to plant more than 222 million trees a year to meet its target.
Despite the slow uptake, the government still insists it is on track to fulfull the promise.
“Officials are currently preparing a comprehensive plan to fulfill this commitment,” Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan’s press secretary told La Presse at the time.
“Once programs are in place, planting can begin in various locations across Canada, including public forests, private lands, crown lands and urban spaces.”