The Canadian Press/Aaron Vincent Elkaim © The Canadian Press/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

11 APRIL 2019

TORONTO — Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist with Greenpeace Canada, said the following in response to the 2019 Ontario budget:

“The 35 per cent cut to the Ministry of Environment and promised attacks on environmental protections make this the most anti-environmental budget in Ontario since the deadly tainted-water disaster in Walkerton. The gutting of Ontario’s climate action plan in combination with the taxpayer-financed partisan campaign against federal climate action expose a government that is deeply in denial on the urgency of the climate crisis.”

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NOTES:

  • The total budget for Ontario’s Ministry of Environment is being cut by 35 per cent (17 per cent if you exclude the cancellation of cap-and-trade-funded programs).
  • The budget document promises to weaken environmental protections in the provincial Environmental Assessment, Species at Risk and Far North Acts, as well as other unspecified changes to environmental protections, under the rhetoric of cutting ‘red tape’.
  • The Harris government took this same approach of cutting budgets and framing environmental protection as red tape in the late 1990s, contributing to the chain of events that to the Walkerton disaster.
  • The Ford government’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target is only one-third of the previous climate plan’s target. To achieve this weaker goal, the Ford government is relying on programs (such as support for electric vehicles) that the province no longer funds.
  • The Ford government is not providing a revenue estimate for its own carbon price on industrial polluters (the industrial emitters emissions performance standard on page 156 of the budget document), on the grounds that the program isn’t finalized yet, but it is willing to provide a GHG reduction estimate for this program in its climate plan.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Keith Stewart, 416-659-0294. He will also be available at Queen’s Park for scrums after the budget speech.