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2 years after Trudeau pledged to plant 2 billion trees, only 8.5 million have been planted

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The federal government has planted less than half a per cent of the two billion trees it pledged to put in the ground across Canada by 2030, The Canadian Press has learned.

Figures obtained through an access to information request show 8.5 million trees had been planted as of mid-November, representing just over 0.4 per cent of what the Liberals have promised repeatedly.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the pledge during the 2019 election campaign, and the goal was repeated during the government’s 2020 throne speech.

The government claims the two billion trees would help Canada meet its climate change targets while creating roughly 4,300 new jobs.

Despite the sluggish start to the tree-planting effort, the Ministry of Natural Resources said the program isn’t falling behind.

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

“Partners” have pledged to grow those 30 million trees, according to the department, which has not yet received or validated all the figures.

Green MP Mike Morrice said the news that only 8.5 million trees have been planted so far is “incredibly disappointing” but “not a complete surprise.”

“We’ve seen a pattern from this government of making grandiose promises around elections, but not following through, this being the most recent example,” Morrice said. “Planting trees is one of the cheapest forms of climate action, while regenerating forests can also reduce erosion.”

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