Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is being criticized after appearing to have plastic cutlery during a meeting, despite his government’s plan to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021.
He tweeted a photo of his meeting with the youth council in his Quebec riding, in which a pile of plastic cutlery can be seen on the table.
Single-use cutlery is among the world’s biggest non-biodegradable sources of garbage.
“Always great to be back in my riding! I had a good meeting with the Papineau Youth Council today,” he wrote on Monday. “Thanks for your ideas on how we can fight climate change, advance gender equality, and make our community - and Canada - better for everyone”
The plastics pollution issue is so dire that earlier this month, the federal government pledged to ban all single-use plastics as early as 2021. At the time, Trudeau called the issue a “problem we simply can’t afford to ignore.”
In a statement emailed to CTVNews.ca, the Prime Minister's Office said that "the utensils will be re-used."
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna came to Trudeau’s defence on CTV’s Power Play Tuesday, telling host Don Martin “it happens to everyone.”
“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,” she said.
According to a statement from the federal government, less than 10 per cent of plastic used in Canada gets recycled and, without any change, Canadians will throw away an estimated $11 billion worth of plastic materials each year by 2030.
Because of the urgency of the situation, some said the irony in the photo was thick enough to cut with a knife.
One Twitter user wrote that the pile of plastic forks and knives in the photo might as well be called a “pile of hypocrisy.”
He also called out the prime minister for appearing to need a fork and knife to eat pizza.
Another person asked: “Why does a meeting to discuss climate change display single-use plastic cutlery?” The photo was also quickly turned into memes.