I am very proud to call Winnipeg home and often, while flying into or out of our city, I will look out the window and see hundreds of thousands of trees.
Our trees are scattered throughout our communities and come in many variations, from the mighty maples and oaks to our Christmas spruce trees to fruit trees, shrubs and so many more.
Our rivers, parks and public places draw us to them in part because of their trees. From Point Douglas to Tyndall Park you will see thousands of mature trees, while communities in newer neighbourhoods have much younger stock. We are still struggling to recover from the terrible snowstorm last Thanksgiving, in which thousands of trees were damaged and far too many lost, causing serious damage to our canopy.
The point of this story is to say that, no matter where you live in Winnipeg, we could always use more trees.
The federal government has made a bold commitment to plant hundreds of millions of trees in the next few years. The City of Winnipeg has also committed to plant tens of thousands of trees. These projects aren’t just about neighbourhood beautification, they’re about protecting our planet and ensuring our children have a bright future with clean air to breathe.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to a tree planting mission by Iglesia ni Cristo, where I witnessed over 100 trees planted in Woodsworth Park, at the west end of Selkirk Avenue. Over two days, church members planted 271 trees. Years from now, as those trees grow, members of the church will be able to walk in the park and see the tangible results of action they took last month.
I can recall many years ago planting a skinny tree that looked so scrawny at the time.
Whenever I see it now I am amazed by what it has become.
As the last of the leaves fall and winter approaches, I can’t help but think about how important trees really are to our community. We now know that trees play an incredibly important role in the fight against climate change. Not only do they give us the oxygen we need, they also trap carbon in the process and help offset carbon emissions from industry and vehicles.
Next time you’re out raking leaves, think about what they really mean for your family. Next spring, I hope to plant a few trees and encourage you to do the same.
Pick an open spot on your lawn, or get together with your neighbours to improve a local green space. We can all plant the seeds of a stronger future together.
Winnipeg North constituency report
Kevin Lamoureux is the Liberal Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North.