Scheer, Singh skeptical of Liberal climate plan to reach zero carbon emissions

McKenna unveiled details of the plan to hit goal by 2050

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announces support for Canada’s agricultural sector during a press conference at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh poured cold water Tuesday on the new Liberal commitment to combat climate change by achieving zero net carbon emissions in Canada by 2050.

The pledge would bring Canada in line with a promise made by 65 other countries at this week’s United Nations Climate Summit to work to become carbon-neutral by mid-century.

Ottawa MP Catherine McKenna, the environment minister for the Liberals’ whole last term in government, unveiled details of the plan in Ottawa ahead of a scheduled announcement by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in B.C. at a company working on cutting-edge battery technology for uses such as electric vehicles.

Trudeau is to make the announcement in Singh’s riding of Burnaby South.

Scheer dismissed the Liberal climate plan, calling Trudeau “a master of improvisation” who is making policy up on the fly. And he reiterated his past criticism of the Liberals’ carbon tax, saying it makes life more expensive for Canadians.

But Scheer was non-committal about whether a Conservative government would consider adopting the zero-carbon target itself.

“We are committed to the targets that we have signed onto. We have committed to implementing our real plan for the environment, which gives Canada the best chance to reach those targets,” Scheer said in southwestern Ontario.

In Winnipeg, Singh said Trudeau’s environment policies have failed Canadians, which is why young people are taking to the streets to express their concerns about the fight against climate change.

“No one believes that Mr. Trudeau is going to actually follow through on those commitments,” Singh said, as he unveiled his plan for dealing with climate change, which included building an east-west corridor to carry clean energy across the country.

Singh’s announcement on climate change in Winnipeg was to be followed by a trip westward to his home district for a town hall by the end of the day.

READ MORE: McKenna defends Canada’s climate credibility amid Trudeau controversy

The Liberal and Conservative leaders are both in key election battlegrounds with Trudeau in B.C.’s Lower Mainland and with Scheer crossing southwestern Ontario, making stops in Cambridge, Kitchener and London, alongside Conservative candidates who are all trying to take ridings back from Liberals who won in previously Tory areas.

Over in Atlantic Canada, Green Leader Elizabeth May was in Sackville, N.B., where she was also highlighting promises from her platform to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. That included new approaches by Canada Post to use its infrastructure to serve communities.

It also included developing a national transportation strategy, with a zero-carbon goal for public ground transportation in Canada by 2040

The Canadian Press

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