In the Wake of the Catastrophic Flooding Now Raving Communities in the Province, Your Cuts to Environmental Protection Programs Borderlines on Criminal Negligence
By Doug Draper
My Open Letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford
Posted April 29th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
“It just rips your heart apart,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford after speaking to victims in flood-ravaged communities in the Ottawa River area this past April 26th. “These folks can’t go through this every single year.”
They can’t go through this every single year?
Perhaps a better word to use, rather than ‘can’t’, Mr. Premier, is ‘shouldn’t’ because, as the years go on, they might go through it every single year.
Indeed, most , if not all of us not only might, but will go through climate-related disasters like the catastrophic flooding that has been occurring in the Ottawa River and other areas of Ontario, not to mention in Quebec and provinces further east, if political leaders like you don’t take action to address climate change and the destruction it causes.
When you were surveying the damage and destruction to communities in the Ottawa River area this past April 26th, who seemed to concede that climate change or “something” like it is real, but you and your government sure don’t act like it.
While the rains kept pouring and the water was rising to record levels in the places where hearts were tearing apart, you went on ranting and raving about what you and your Tory partners across the country call a “carbon tax,” which is your way of trying to make publicly distasteful an attempt by the federal government to place a price on climate altering carbon pollution.
And you and your attorney general, Caroline Mulroney (daughter of a former Canadian prime minister who cared a little about environmental protection), are locked and loaded to blow millions of our tax dollars fighting in the courts.
While the rains poured and the waters kept rising, we also learned about a whole host of cuts to environment protection tucked away in the fine print of your April 4th budget, including cuts to the budget of the Ontario Ministry of Environment, a total axing of a program for planting trees in southern Ontario, and cuts to the province’s Conservation Authorities for services that include protecting people and property from floods.
That’s right, even as the flood waters kept rising, you have plans on the books to cut what likely amounts to $10 million or less for flood management, which may not seem like a lot of money, but it means a lot to the Conservation Authorities working out in the field.
And compared to the billions of dollars in damage caused by the floods in the Ottawa River and other areas of Ontario this April alone – costs that we will all have to pick up through relief funds for the ravaged communities and higher property insurance premiums – the amount you will save in your cuts to flood management and other environmental programs is penny wise and pound foolish, to say the very least.
More like outrageous and reckless, border-lining on criminally negligent.
Never mind the words of sorry for the victims, however heartfelt they may be.
What we need now on the climate change file, Mr. Premier, is real action.
And you are not only failing to do any more than previous provincial governments to address this crisis. By cutting and gutting environmental protection programs, you are moving us backwards.
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