The federal government needs to start digging a hole, and not in terms of political rhetoric, one area MP says.

NDP MP Carol Hughes says the government’s lofty goal of having two billion trees planted across the country by 2030 to help fight climate change is nowhere near on schedule.

Citing a recent audit by Environment Commissioner Jerry DeMarco, Hughes (Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing) noted that at the current pace of the program, “only 76.2 million trees (will have been put in the ground) by 2030, which would put the government slightly under four per cent of their total goal of planting two billion.”

The Liberal government announced the tree-planting program in 2019 with a $3.2-billion commitment.

Hughes allowed “it’s somewhat understandable that such a program, a clearly massive undertaking, would take some time to get off the ground.”

“The process for growing seedlings is time consuming and, depending on the type of tree, can take anywhere from a few months to several years to grow before they are able to be planted,” she said in a constituents bulletin.

“Partnerships between the federal government and the provinces to get the trees in the ground have been slow to develop,” Hughes said.

So far, Ontario and Quebec, home to large private forestry operations, have yet to sign on to the initiative.

Recommended for you