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Ottawa pledges to spend $15M to restore Ontario’s tree planting program

Posted in Talking Politics

Published on June 09, 2019 with No Comments

The federal government has promised to spend $15 million over four years to save a tree-planting program in Ontario cancelled by Premier Doug Ford’s government. Forests Ontario was informed in the wake of the Progressive Conservative government’s first budget in April that the program, with an annual budget of about $4.7 million, was being eliminated. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the program is an important part of fighting climate change. “Planting trees means cleaner air, it means cleaner water, it means more habitat for animals and it also means good jobs,” she said.

McKenna also slammed Ford for a host of other environmental cuts, including scrapping a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the green programs that were funded by it. She has criticized Ontario’s new climate plan as inadequate.

The money for the tree-planting program comes from Ottawa’s $420 million low-carbon economy fund, which was announced last year as a way to bypass the province and give money directly to institutions after Ontario scrapped cap and trade.

McKenna’s announcement comes less than five months from a federal election in which Ontario votes will play a key role. “I think that that’s pretty obvious that the federal government wants to campaign against us in this federal election,” said Ontario Natural Resources and Forestry Minister John Yakabuski. “It’s not the first time they’ve done it.”

 

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