Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been called out by Canadians this week after a picture circulated on Twitter from a meeting, where Justin Trudeau is using single-use plastic cutlery. The criticism comes after Trudeau’s government voted earlier this month to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021, with several social media users calling out Trudeau’s ‘hypocrisy’.
Many Canadians feel as though Trudeau is saying one thing, and doing another, as he is quoted as saying that the plastics pollution issue in Canada is a “problem we simply can’t afford to ignore,” despite also tweeting a photo of him with the youth council in Quebec, in which a pile of plastic cutlery can be seen on the table.
According to CTV News, when the ban was officially announced, Trudeau asked people to imagine future camping trips but surrounded by dead wildlife, shopping bags and coffee cup lids. He said, “That’s the fate of our kids if we don’t act.” With that in mind, single-use cutlery is reportedly among the world’s biggest non-biodegradable sources of garbage.
On June 10, the federal government made a statement to Canadians that said that “Less than 10 per cent of plastic used in Canada gets recycled. Without a change in course, Canadians will throw away an estimated $11 billion worth of plastic materials each year by 2030.”
The statement also says that one-third of the plastics used in Canada are for single-use products and packaging, including up to 15 billion plastic bags every year and 57 million straws every day.
According to the federal government, there is also an estimated 150 million tons of discarded plastics - or one garbage truckload every minute - dumped into the world’s oceans every year.
Despite this seemingly urgent appeal to the public, many Canadian's are miffed that Trudeau doesn't seem to be following the same advice that is being given to the people of Canada.
It has been awkward few weeks for the Prime Minister since revealing his new plans to save the planet.
He made his first faux-pas a few weeks ago, when he was asked by a reporter, "What do you and your family do to cut back on plastics?" The weird response he gave about drinking water out of “like drink box water bottles sort of thing,” didn’t go down very well, with many Canadians feeling like his strange response meant he was likely not doing much at all.
Trudeau faced criticism again when the House of Commons voted to recognize a climate emergency in Canada, just hours before the federal government approved the highly controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which many people felt was extremely hypocritical.
In a response to CTV News, the Prime Minister's Office did say that "the utensils will be re-used." In defence of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, said “You’re in a situation, you’re doing it [a meeting] quickly, you use plastics…I know the prime minister thinks we need to do better, I think we need to do better.”
While the single-use plastics ban is brilliant news for the environment, and Canadians across the country applauded the initiative, perhaps Trudeau will need to be a little more environmentally-conscious himself in future to avoid any further criticism about his own plastic use.