QUEEN'S PARK -- “This government’s decision to slash conservation authority flood control budgets by 50% while also directing no increases to municipal levies is putting Ontarians’ lives and property at risk. In my community, the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority has warned that it is simply not possible to absorb the loss of half of its flood control budget without cutting key flood management services such as flood forecasting and warning systems.
In the face of a climate emergency that is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, it is incomprehensible that this government is cutting funding for essential flood control. But it gets worse, Speaker. Conservation authorities have also been directed to stop all non-mandatory programs, even though these programs receive no provincial funding whatsoever. For Upper Thames River, this means the loss of programs on water quality monitoring and improvement, on tree planting and woodlot management, on invasive species, on species at risk, on curriculum-based environmental education, on trail development and programs in support of local environmental initiatives.
Instead of listening to climate deniers, I call on this government to join the fight against climate change, help protect Ontarians from flooding and support the vital work of local conservation authorities like Upper Thames River to protect our communities and preserve our planet.”