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Climate the focus as Liberal, NDP, Green leaders march with voters

Last Updated Sep 27, 2019 at 12:15 pm PST

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau crosses a street as he makes his way to make a policy announcement in Toronto on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Most of the federal party leaders are marching alongside Canadians who are demanding action on climate change

Trudeau, Scheer and May have made more environment-related campaign promises on Day 17 of the campaign

MONTREAL – Fighting climate change isn’t just the focus for the millions of people marching for action around the world.

All of the federal party leaders, save for Conservative Andrew Scheer and People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier, are also taking part in rallies on Friday across the country.

Ahead of the Montreal march, Justin Trudeau promised that a re-elected Liberal government would pay for the planting of two billion trees over the next decade to combat climate change.

“In our cities and in other places that need it. Work with Indigenous communities, and support forest regeneration after wildfires,” he said.

The tree-planting promise is the latest aspect of Trudeau’s plan for the environment, which he has been laying out at different campaign events across the country all week.

He said the tree-planting pledge would be part of a $3-billion federal effort to expand and diversify urban forests and work to prevent infestations, such as the emerald ash borer, that have devastated forests and other green spaces across Canada.

New research has suggested trees could play a huge role in reducing global emissions thanks to their ability to capture and store carbon dioxide in their roots.

The Liberals promised in June to provide $15 million over four years to help plant trees in Ontario after Premier Doug Ford’s provincial government cut funding for the program.

Trudeau also met 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg before participating in Montreal’s climate march.

“We talked directly about the need to do more, much more. And I thanked her for the amount of people that her call to action has mobilized. Young people, here in Montreal, across the country, and around the world, who are saying ‘Yes, governments need to do more.”

NDP leader announces promise of a coast fund in B.C.

Meantime, the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh promoted his party’s plan to safeguard the environment along Canada’s coastlines on Friday.

Speaking on Vancouver Island today, Singh said a New Democrat government would create a coastal fund to protect salmon, reinforce the coast guard and clean up abandoned vessels.

He added the NDP would always fight against the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, a project which would significantly boost tanker traffic off the B.C. coast.

“Here in Canada, Mr. Trudeau, in the face of a global crisis, in the face of a climate crisis, bought a pipeline for $4.5 billion,” Singh said. “Not only did he buy one, back in 2015 Mr. Trudeau promised that he would not build the Trans Mountain pipeline.”

Singh also took aim at the Liberal leader on Twitter following both of their announcements, saying the trees Trudeau promised to plant over the next decade “won’t hide the pipeline you bought.”

Singh is also taking part in a climate march, in Victoria.

This is the fourth consecutive day Singh has campaigned in the province, where the NDP won 14 seats in 2015.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is also in Montreal today, and marching in the city’s climate march, which is likely to be Canada’s biggest.