The government of Canada has formally notified the United Nations that Canada’s laws will not be in compliance with a treaty meant to stop rich countries from shipping their hazardous waste to poor countries.

The specific amendments that Canada has asked for extra time to codify are intended to address a problem that is supposed to be a signature issue of the Trudeau government: plastic contamination.

“Before Canada can formally accept the amendments, it needs to complete an internal acceptance procedure. This procedure, led by Global Affairs Canada, is underway,” Gabrielle Lamontagne of Environment Canada told CBC News, adding that Canada hopes to finish that work before the end of the year.

UN documents say the new rules “come into force” on March 24 of this year, but don’t “take effect” until January 1.

Gap between words and actions
Some environmental scientists and anti-plastic waste campaigners say the federal government’s request for a delay is the latest manifestation of a yawning gap between the Trudeau government’s actions and its efforts to present itself as a leader on plastic waste and oceans.

“I think the public just isn’t aware of how much we’re failing to step up and do our bit to stop the pollution of the oceans and land with plastic,” said Kathleen Ruff, founder of the environmental group RightOnCanada. “I don’t think the public is aware that the rest of the world is moving forward, and Canada is dragging its feet, and worse, opposing it.”

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