The Canadian government has planted less than half-of-one percent of the two billion trees Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to put in the ground across Canada, according to The Canadian Press. 

Figures obtained through an access to information and privacy (ATIP) request show 8.5 million trees have been planted as of mid-November, representing about 0.4% of what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to. 

Trudeau made the pledge to plant two billion trees by 2030 during the 2019 Canadian election. He repeated the number during the 2020 Speech from the Throne.  

Trudeau argued that planting two billion trees would help Canada meet its climate change targets as well as create 4,300 jobs. During the 2019 election, he pledged to use revenues from the Trans Mountain pipeline to fund the project. 

Natural Resources Canada press secretary Joanna Sivasankaran told The Canadian Press that the department has not fallen behind. 

“There will be about 30 million trees planted by the end of this year,” said Sivasankaran. “Tree planting as part of this program will continue to ramp up.” 

Natural Resources Canada said in its reply to the ATIP request that 120 organizations contacted the department asking to plant trees in February, and that it is “finalizing agreements to support the planting of over 30 million trees across the country, in both rural and urban areas.” 

She said the Canadian government is planning a huge tree planting push this month, where they are requesting new partners to plant an extra 250 to 350 million trees every year. The slow start was based on finding seedlings, which can take two years to grow. 

The ATIP request revealed that 7.6 million of the 8.5 million trees planted since Trudeau made his pledge were in British Columbia. There have been 350,000 trees planted in Quebec, 238,000 in Alberta, 235,000 in New Brunswick, 89,000 in Ontario and 60,400 in Saskatchewan. \

The goal to plant two billion trees by 2030 means 200 million more would have to be planted every year. There are 600 million trees planted in Canada annually. 

NDP MP Charlie Angus said in a tweet that he was disappointed the Canadian government is lagging behind.

“So @justintrudeau has missed every climate target he promised,” said Angus. “This one is a doozy.” 

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