A Greenish Budget
Federal finance minister Bill Morneau announced the Liberal government’s first budget on March 22. Overall, Budget 2016 is pretty good for nature. Positive announcements include:
- $142.5 million over 5 years for new parks establishment ($42 million);
- $83.3 million to pay for free admissions to National Parks; and
- $16.6 million for the Learn to Camp Program.
Marine and Coastal Areas
- $81.3 million over 5 years to establish new marine protected areas and for marine conservation activities.
- $16.5 million over 3 years for participant funding in environmental assessments of projects such as Energy East; and
- $14.5 million over 3 years to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for increasing its capacity with respect to consultations and compliance and enforcement.
Budget 2016 includes $2 billion for a low-carbon future fund and $518 million in climate change mitigation and adaptation infrastructure projects. Nature Canada and other nature groups will be arguing that protection of ecosystems such as native grasslands should be eligible for funding under these funds as inexpensive means to sequester and store carbon and build in resilience to global climate change.
Nature Canada is disappointed that there is no new funding for Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) for
- Species at risk, migratory birds or grasslands conservation; or
- Connecting Canadians to nature (Parks Canada did received funding for the Learn to Camp program)
Nature Canada and the other nature groups in the Green Budget Coalition need to work harder this year to ensure that these neglected CWS program areas are not neglected in Budget 2017.
So in conclusion, overall a rating of “Greenish” for Budget 2016.