Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in an working session at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada offers $15M, water bombers on top of G7 help to fight Amazon wildfires

The G7 nations had agreed earlier to contribute a separate US$20-million to help Brazil

The federal government is spending $15 million and offering up the use of Canadian water bombers to help fight the wildfires currently ravaging the Amazon rainforest, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday as he wrapped up several days of meetings with G7 world leaders in France.

Canada is also reaching out to the government of Brazil to see what else it can do to help douse the flames, which Trudeau described as a symptom of an escalating climate crisis — one that evoked a separate US$20-million commitment from the G7, part of which will be earmarked for a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest.

The world’s seven largest economies reached the deal after a session focused on climate change that U.S. President Donald Trump missed in order to hold one-on-one bilateral meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other leaders.

The picture of Trump’s empty chair — his team was in the room and the U.S. president agreed with the shared goal of the Brazil package, said French President Emmanuel Macron — symbolized the president’s disdain for environmental causes, and served a convenient talking point for Trudeau as he heads into an election campaign next month where climate change is sure to be a hot topic.

Trump has made his perspective on climate change very clear, while the Liberals believe climate change is a real and existential threat for the planet, Trudeau said, citing his government’s carbon tax measures, as well as plans to phase out coal and plastics.

“Canada has been unequivocal in its leadership on that, understanding that you cannot have a plan for the future of the economy unless you also have a plan to fight climate change,” he said.

“Now, the president and even some Conservative politicians at home seem to disagree with us on that, but I’m very much looking forward to the election in which we get to have this conversation with Canadians.”

The money the G7 nations put forward for the Amazon will be aimed specifically at Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay, said Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, with urgent brigades to combat fires and specialized planes.

“The second stage is more long-term and will require the consent of the countries involved,” Pinera added, outlining not only a plan for reforestation of those parts of the basin ravaged by the flames, but also a plan to guard the biodiversity of the region.

“It would, of course, always respect their sovereignty,” he said. “We think we have to protect these real lungs of our world.”

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a populist, far-right leader, initially dismissed the hundreds of blazes and then questioned whether activist groups might have started the fires in an effort to damage the credibility of his government, which has called for looser environmental regulations in the world’s largest rainforest to spur development.

In response, European leaders threatened to block a major trade deal with Brazil that would benefit the very agricultural interests accused of driving deforestation.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Best of Cloverdale’ contest returns

Voters can cast ballots once a day until Sept. 5; enter to win $250 gift card for Save-On-Foods

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta artist John Horton named to Order of British Columbia

Honour for significant contributions made to the appreciation and safety of B.C.’s coastal history

Former White Rock mayor, MP shares community connections via YouTube

Gordie Hogg aims to highlight those who’ve impacted South Surrey, White Rock

Man arrested in ‘after-hours club crackdown’ in Whalley, Surrey RCMP say

Police say they received information about clubs, parties ‘springing up’ at commercial properties

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read