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

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

Kwa’lilas Hotel wins award from TripAdvisor

The Kwa’lilas Hotel opened its doors to the public back in 2017.

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Alert Bay tested for COVID-19 antibodies, results prove efforts were effective

Just 3.7 per cent of people tested have the antibody

BC Parks acquires private land in Cape Scott Provincial Park

Land previously held by B.C. land and cattle mogul Rudy Nielsen

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Wedding party bear sprayed at Okanagan campsite irks locals

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

Paramedics fired for allowing patient to crawl for treatment on Downtown Eastside: court documents

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital from sepsis

Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

Most Read