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Doherty says Liberal promise of $500 million to support wildfire fighting comes way too late

Todd Doherty

The Liberal Party of Canada’s election promise to spend $500 million on wildfire fighting efforts is simply political opportunism, says Cariboo-Prince George Conservative candidate Todd Doherty.

A re-elected Liberal government will support the training of 1,000 new community-based firefighters and the purchasing of new equipment to continue to fight the impacts of climate change across the country, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau announced during a campaign stop in Vancouver earlier this week.

“We are in a climate emergency,” he said Trudeau “We’ve taken real action to protect our environment and grow our economy since 2015, but we know that we need to be bigger and bolder in the fight against climate change. The safety and security of Canadians is at stake, and we have to act now.” 

Doherty said the federal support should have come following the devastating 2017 and 2018 fire seasons.

“After calling an election as our province is on fire and under a state of emergency, Justin Trudeau had the audacity to promise future funding and resources to combat wildfires,” said Doherty in a Facebook post. “This is absolute BS.”

Doherty said he and other B.C. MPs pleaded for more firefighting help following the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons, but it didn’t come.

“British Columbians won’t be fooled,” Doherty said. “This is yet another example of selfish political opportunism at its very worst. If (Trudeau) truly cared, he would have moved mountains to make those who lost everything and are still struggling whole again … long before this election.”

The Liberal announcement included:

  • Training 1,000 new community-based firefighters to ensure we have the support we need in future fire seasons;
  • Working with provinces and territories to provide firefighters with the equipment they need to fight fires and stay safe, like Canadian-made planes to increase provincial aerial firefighting capacity;
  • Helping Canadians make their homes more resilient from climate change, through retrofits and upgrades; and
  • Partnering with the private sector to innovate climate adaptation, including by lowering insurance premiums that would save Canadians money.

This builds on the work Ottawa has been doing to fight climate change and protect Canadians from extreme weather events. 

“Canadians are seeing the real impacts of climate change in their communities, but Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives deny that it’s even real,” said Trudeau. “In this important election, Canadians have a clear choice: Let the Conservatives take us backward to the inaction of the Harper years, or move forward with a real plan to fight the climate crisis, keep Canadians safe, and grow the economy. We have to move forward.”

Canadians go to the polls September 20.

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