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Trudeau vents frustration that climate change could be a partisan issue

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the fact an organization could be labelled partisan by Elections Canada just for saying that climate change is real underscores the frustration that there are still some politicians who don’t believe climate change is a problem.

Trudeau is reacting after some environment groups were warned to watch what they say about climate change during the upcoming federal campaign because People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier believes climate change is neither an emergency nor caused by people.

The Canada Elections Act, which outlines rules around advertising and activities by third parties, says certain statements that don’t name a specific party or candidate could still be considered partisan if they address an issue a party or candidate has taken a position on.

Speaking at an event in Quebec City, Trudeau says he respects the independence of Elections Canada to decide whether something is partisan under the Act.

But he says climate change is only a subject for debate because some “conservative” politicians will not agree that climate change is real and in need of a government response.

Several environment groups say they are already curtailing some of their normal activities around climate change because of fears they will be subject to a complaint to Elections Canada about partisan behaviour.