By Mia Rabson, National Observer, November 3, 2020
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's massive tree-planting promise from the 2019 election has yet to be allocated a single dime.
Trudeau pledged a year ago that the government would plant two billion more trees by 2030, or about 200 million extra trees per year. It was to be part of a $3-billion, decade-long effort to manage, conserve and restore forests, grasslands and wetlands, starting with $300 million in 2020-21.
It was clear last month that no trees had been planted this year, a failure Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan's staff chalked up to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it has become clear the program was never given any money.
"We are awaiting a budget decision," said Beth MacNeil, assistant deputy minister of the Canadian Forest Service, before the House of Commons' natural-resources committee on Oct. 30.
"But in the meantime we do continue, myself and my team, since late last fall to engage with potential partners."