Poilievre condemns 'climate barbie' for comparing conservatives to 'arsonists' over opposition to carbon tax

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Catherine McKenna called Conservative voters 'arsonists.' She claimed they want to make it free to pollute while 'Canadians pay with their lives' from devastating wildfires.

Poilievre condemns 'climate barbie' for comparing conservatives to 'arsonists' over opposition to carbon tax
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Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre condemned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's former environment minister, Catherine McKenna, for comparing voters who oppose carbon taxes to "arsonists."

"Conservative politicians want to fight about a price on carbon pollution? Do you want to make it free to pollute while Canadians pay with their lives threatened, homes destroyed, and communities obliterated? You are the arsonists," she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

McKenna served on Trudeau's cabinet from 2015 to 2021 as minister of environment and climate change and then infrastructure and communities. 

Several devastating wildfires across B.C. and the Northwest Territories have forced over 50,000 Canadians to flee their homes in August under duress from local evacuation orders. 

As of Tuesday evening, B.C. remains in a state of emergency, with an estimated 27,000 people subject to evacuation orders and thousands more on evacuation alert. 

The N.W.T. capital, Yellowknife, also has an active evacuation order, with the blaze encroaching the city from 15 kilometres away.

On Monday afternoon, a reporter asked the Conservative leader for his reaction to McKenna's comments.

"What's your response to her comment, and what do you say to [...] people that say not having a carbon tax will lead to a climate catastrophe?" asked the reporter.

"I worry about the increased radicalization of rhetoric by Liberals, particularly Justin Trudeau," responded Poilievre, denouncing "the nastiness and meanness they're directing at people who disagree with their policies."

As minister, McKenna repeatedly attributed wildfires caused by arson to 'climate change,' including the devastating 2019 McMillan wildfire in Alberta, which consumed approximately 273,000 hectares of land.

At the onset, she blamed then Alberta premier Jason Kenney and his plan to scrap the carbon tax for the out-of-control blaze.

However, Alberta wildfire investigators and the RCMP forestry crimes unit concluded its cause as arson, confirming it "started near Wabasca around 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, near kilometre 40 on Highway 754 Northeast of Slave Lake."

Poilievre told reporters Monday he doesn't buy the Liberal rhetoric comparing the carbon tax to devastating wildfires.

"If we paid higher taxes, we'd have less for forest fires? Come on. Let's get back to some common sense in this country and start to bring people together instead of tearing the country apart," he said.

In June 2019, McKenna said her government planned no further increase to the carbon tax once it hit $50 per tonne of carbon emissions in 2022 — costing 11 cents more per litre of gas.

The minister responded to inquiries at the time on a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report that concluded Ottawa would have to increase the tax to $102 a tonne to meet its international climate targets.

However, the federal government has since abandoned that pledge to keep taxes low and is on its way to implementing a $170 per tonne carbon tax by 2030 — costing nearly 40 cents more per litre of gas.

Meanwhile, Environment and Climate Change Canada continued to peddle more 'climate change' hysteria during McKenna's tenure as minister. 

In a February 2019 tweet, the department attributed "deadly heat waves in Quebec" and "asthma-inducing smoke from B.C. forest fires" in 2018 to 'climate change.' 

Environment Canada, in a January 8, 2019 report, Attribution Of The Influence Of Human-Induced Climate Change On An Extreme Fire Season, omitted historical data to claim 'climate change' as the cause for "record-shattering" wildfires in B.C. the year prior.  

In 2018, fires destroyed 3.3 million acres of land in the province. However, New Brunswick's Department of Natural Resources estimates the Great Miramichi Fire of 1825 destroyed 4.9 million acres, reported Blacklock's Reporter.

In August 2019, Environment Canada omitted a century's worth of weather data from 1850 to 1949, citing 'unreliable' weather stations. Between 1950 and 2005, the department relied on "twenty-four models from historical simulations."

Staff used "misleading modelling" instead of actual temperature readings to plot graphs demonstrating 'climate change,' reported Blacklock's Reporter. 

"Data is based on climate models," said Samantha Bayard, then Environment spokesperson. "It is simulated from 1950."

McKenna launched the ClimateData.ca website on August 15, 2019, to promote cooperation and "protect Canada's communities" from 'climate change.'

"Canada's climate is warming, and we need to help Canadians plan for the potential impacts of climate change," she said then. 

"The more each of us uses this type of information, the more it will help [for long-term planning]."

The historical data omitted figures such as Vancouver's hottest temperature in 1910 (30.6°) compared to 29.5° in 2017.

Other examples include Toronto having a warmer summer in 1852 (32.2°) than it did in 2017 (31.7°) and that the highest temperature in Moncton did not occur in 2017, but in 1906.

On June 29, 2021, Lytton, B.C., reached a daytime high of 47.7 degrees — the hottest temperature in Canadian history, reported Blacklock's Reporter. The following day, a devastating wildfire burned the hamlet to the ground.

The ensuing heat wave lasted six days, killing 619 residents and ripening the conditions for numerous wildfires across the province.

The record-breaking temperatures combined "anthropogenic climate trends" and "internal variability," said the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

University of Washington Meteorologist Cliff Mass said the "freak event […] would have happened anyway" due to natural phenomena. 

"Media and politicians are obsessed with the negative, particularly in environmental matters," he said.

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