Toronto, Ont. – Ontario’s budget shows that this government isn’t serious about fighting climate change or protecting the environment. There is no mention of funding for Ontario’s Environment Plan, except for the previously announced $400 million five-year emissions reduction fund. That means no money toward any of the other actions Ontario identified as part of their plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and no spending associated with other environmental commitments, such as protecting the Great Lakes and fighting plastic pollution. In fact, the budget for the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks has been slashed by 35 per cent compared to last year.
The budget says that “the government is committed to preparing families and communities for the costs and impacts of climate change, such as more frequent severe weather events and flooding.” And yet, the Ontario government is not preparing for these costs and impacts. For example, the government is projecting forest firefighting costs to decline by over $100 million, or 65 per cent, despite the fact that these costs have been steadily increasing year-over-year, as have the costs of flooding, and other climate-related disasters.
The budget reaffirms that Ontario is committed to fighting the federal government rather than fighting climate change, and shows that it’s not bound by facts. The document claims that the federal government moved the goal posts when it comes to fighting climate change, when in fact it was Ontario that weakened its emissions reduction targets. The budget also says that there is “overwhelming evidence that a carbon tax is one of the most regressive tax increases in the history of Canada,” but fails to cite any evidence of this. It also talks up the costs of the federal carbon pricing system, while omitting any mention of the rebates that will leave most Ontario families better off.
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, abraude@environmentaldefence.