SUDBURY, Ont. — The federal Liberals say one-fourth of Canada’s land will be given protected status over the next six years if they are re-elected.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is also promising to protect one-fourth of Canada’s oceans by 2025.
He made the announcement after paddling a canoe in the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area in Sudbury, Ont., on Thursday morning.
Trudeau said 30 per cent of Canadian land and ocean areas will be protected by 2030, and he will push the rest of the world to follow suit.
“We know protecting our nature, protecting our land for future generations, protecting our waters in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, is about fighting climate change and protecting our future,” he said.
The Liberals committed in their first mandate to protect 17 per cent of land and 10 per cent of marine areas by 2020. As of the end of 2018, Environment Canada was reporting 11.2 per cent of land and 7.9 per cent of marine areas had been protected.
Trudeau noted Canada has already exceeded the marine goal with almost 14 per cent of Canadian coastal waters protected.
The protected ocean areas went over the limit in August with the addition of the Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area off the coast of Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, which covers more than 5.5 per cent of all Canadian coastal and marine areas.
Trudeau is also promising to expand the Learn to Camp program, which gives travel bursaries to lower income families to spend up to four nights in one of Canada’s national or provincial parks.
The Liberals say these announcements will cost $75 million in fiscal year 2020-21 and $150 million by fiscal year 2023-24.
Trudeau attending climate march
The Liberal leader also revealed he’ll be taking part in Friday’s massive climate march in Montreal. The event is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people, as well as Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist who has become the symbolic leader of the movement demanding action on climate change.
Thunberg will be given the key to the city from Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante during her visit, but the Liberals have not said whether Trudeau will meet with her.
Trudeau has praised the “extraordinary amount of mobilization” by young people across Canada and around the world who have been pushing for action on climate change, and pitched himself as the best person to lead the charge.
He told reporters he looks forward to marching with thousands of Canadians. More than 140 climate protests are planned nationwide Friday.
Trudeau also blasted his Conservative rival, Andrew Scheer, challenging him directly to ask whether Scheer would commit to banning single-use plastics, as the Liberals plan to do.