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Trudeau’s botched response to the wildfires made Canada the most polluted country on the continent: critics

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A new Air quality report found Canada had the most polluted air of any North American country in 2023, as critics say the Trudeau government’s scattered response to the disaster likely made the situation worse.

“2023 marks the first time in the history of our report that Canada has recorded such high PM2.5 levels,” Natasha Ganes, public relations manager for IQAir North America, told Fox News Digital. “Wildfires in the summer of 2023 have devastated air quality not only across Canada, but also in the United States due to transboundary haze and transboundary air pollution.”

“In May 2023, PM2.5 levels in Alberta increased almost nine-fold compared to the same period in 2022,” Ganes added. “In fact, most of Canada’s top 10 most polluted cities in 2023 were in Alberta due to these fires.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly sounded the alarm about climate change, even saying in 2021 that “climate action cannot wait” and committing to “creating a green economy” while trying to “cut pollution reduce and build a cleaner future for all.” ”

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A spokesman for Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan told Fox News Digital: “The Government of Canada believes in science. Climate change is real and knows no boundaries. Denial is no longer an option.”

“That’s why Canada has taken several steps to prepare for and adapt to climate change and its relentless impacts,” the spokesperson said, noting that 90% of the country’s forests are owned and managed by their respective provinces and the federal government is coordinating with them in response to the fire crisis.

Large cloud of smoke from Canadian forest fires

An aerial view of a forest fire near Tatkin Lake in British Columbia on July 10, 2023. (BC Wildfire Service/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Despite his warnings, he has done little to actually prepare for the crisis. As the wildfires broke out, Trudeau dismissed concerns that his government had contributed to the crisis by failing to update its forest management policies and upgrade firefighting facilities, and by resisting calls for a national fire service.

The Frasier Institute, a libertarian-conservative think tank in Canada, acknowledged that global warming is happening, but simply attributing wildfires to environmental conditions, as Trudeau did at the start of the summer of 2023, highlights ongoing problems with domestic politics and infrastructure disregards.

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Citing the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Frasier Institute noted in an article about the increasing frequency and length of Canada’s “fire season” that climate agencies have given “medium confidence” to climate change alone, leading to more “fire weather.” ” leads.

In late summer 2023, Trudeau began discussing infrastructure financing issues and suggested that his government should examine federal spending on such areas.

“I think we need to start looking at emergencies, we definitely need to look at infrastructure investments,” Trudeau responded during a call with local leaders in British Columbia.

Trudeau at press conference on Montreal aviation industry

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly sounded the alarm about climate change. (ANDREJ IVANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

“This is something we are fully engaged with and our Infrastructure Minister, among others, will be fully committed to, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with provincial and municipal leaders to address these challenges respond.” Trudeau added.

Minister Sajjan’s spokesman emphasized: “Canada’s preparedness is solid and continues to evolve as we learn from these events.”

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“Working with provinces and territories, we have invested heavily in firefighter training and in purchasing the specialized firefighting equipment needed… including for First Nations, and identifying barriers to training,” the spokesman said, noting that the government make greater efforts to invest in disaster preparedness and improve habitat redevelopment.

“To reduce the risk of wildfires, we are enhancing the FireSmart Canada program and creating a center of excellence for innovation and wildfire resilience,” the spokesperson added. “We have also published the National Risk Profile to better understand risks across the country and improve our preparedness.”

Man walking dogs in New York

Orange smog caused by the wildfires in Canada envelopes New York City on June 7, 2023, obscuring its iconic skyscrapers and prompting residents to wear face masks. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

The latest air quality report, published annually by Swiss technology company IQAir, examines PM2.5 air quality from 30,000 monitoring stations in 134 countries, territories and regions.

PM2.5 particles are fine particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less – commonly produced by the combustion of gasoline, oil, diesel fuel or wood – and are measured in concentrations of micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Canada recorded an increase in concentration from 7.4 to 10.3, but an IQAir spokesperson acknowledged that the increase was most likely due to the extreme fire season that devastated the country in 2023.

Woman photographs the sky of New York

A person wearing a face mask photographs the skyline as smoke from wildfires in Canada creates hazy conditions in New York City on June 7, 2023. An orange smog caused by Canada’s wildfires enveloped New York on Wednesday, obscuring its iconic skyscrapers and prompting residents to wear face masks as cities along the U.S. East Coast issued air quality warnings. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

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The wildfires claimed the lives of nine people (including eight firefighters and one child) and burned 45.7 million hectares – about twice the size of Portugal, according to The Guardian. The fires burned so fiercely that the smoke even polluted parts of the United States, creating an alien atmosphere while the sky turned orange or even red.

Yellowknife, a city in a more remote part of Canada, had to evacuate 20,000 people as the fires raged. The IQAir report showed that Yellowknife experienced a massive increase from an average concentration of about 4.63 between 2017 and 2021 to 20.8 in 2023.

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India is considered the country with the most polluted air, with all but eight of the 50 most polluted cities located within its borders, and the most polluted city, Begusarai, recorded a concentration of 118.9.

The most polluted city in the United States is Coraopolis in Pennsylvania, followed by Forest Park in Georgia and Cave Junction in Oregon. Coraopolis recorded a concentration of 19.3.

The Canadian prime minister’s office did not respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment at the time of publication.

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