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Diwali fireworks advisory issued despite warnings it might be discriminatory: emails

Fireworks are seen in a file photo. ( / Fireworks are seen in a file photo. ( /

An Environment Canada advisory that singled out Diwali fireworks as a reason to prepare for poor air quality last October was issued despite multiple warnings from some staff about it being discriminatory.

The advisory was edited and an apology issued within hours as complaints poured in to the national weather service the morning the annual Indian festival of lights was set to begin.

Dozens of emails obtained through an access-to-information request show the discussions that ensued ahead of the advisory being issued on Oct. 24, 2022.

At least two meteorologists raised red flags that linking Diwali to poor air quality could be received as discrimination.

Many of the complaints sent that day accused the national agency of being racist, noting similar air quality warnings were not issued for Canada Day fireworks.

It appears the Diwali warning was the first time Environment Canada issued an air pollution advisory due to fireworks, but the agency also seemed intent to monitor conditions around other holiday fireworks and plan for future warnings.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2023. Top Stories

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