Former Liberal environment minister Catherine McKenna had harsh words for Conservatives who oppose carbon taxes.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), McKenna called them “arsonists” responsible for the growing number of wildfires across Canada. 

McKenna formerly served as a cabinet minister under Trudeau from 2015-2021 first as minister of environment and climate change and then as minister of infrastructure and communities from 2019 to 2021, when she didn’t seek reelection.

“Conservative politicians want to fight about a price on carbon pollution? You want to make it free to pollute while Canadians pay with their lives threatened, homes destroyed and their communities obliterated? So what are you going to do? You are the arsonists,” McKenna wrote on X.

Several wildfires have broken out across Canada this summer, most recently in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. RCMP are currently investigating the possibility of arson as the cause, though nothing has yet been proven.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre responded to McKenna’s comments after being asked about it in a press conference in Ottawa Monday afternoon. 

“What I really worry about is the increased radicalization of rhetoric by liberals, particularly Justin Trudeau, but the nastiness and meanness that they’re directing at people who disagree with their policies, whether it’s true, those nasty comments directed at Muslim parents, or whether it is him jabbing his finger in people’s faces, and now a former Liberal minister, saying that anybody who doesn’t want to pay higher taxes is an arsonist,” Poilievre said.

“Really, really, as if we paid higher taxes, we’d have less for forest fires. Come on. Let’s get back to some common sense in this country. And let’s start to bring our people together instead of tearing the country apart.”

The Conservatives under Poilievre have repeatedly stated their opposition to a carbon tax. Poilievre has been touring Canada giving a series of “Axe the Carbon Tax” speeches in recent weeks.

McKenna’s comments started a fiery debate on X with one user writing, “If I can’t afford to drive my Dodge Ram 4×4 Crew Cab to the Dollar Store to get a deal on drink’n boxes for my kid’s soccer team then this isn’t a Canada I want to live in.”