It’s pretty obvious to anyone with eyes, ears or a brain that Canada’s flooding problem has gotten worse in the last few years. So naturally, now is the perfect time to cut a province worth of conservation authority funding in half.
Ontario conservation authorities say the provincial government has cut their funding for flood management programs in half.
Conservation Ontario, which represents the province’s 36 conservation authorities, said impacts of the cuts will be felt immediately, particularly in smaller and more rural areas.
“Cutting natural hazards funding is particularly problematic right now in light of the fact that — like everywhere else — Ontario is experiencing stronger and more frequent flood events as a result of climate change impacts,” general manager Kim Gavine said in a statement.
“Using a watershed-based approach, conservation authorities deliver effective and cost efficient flood management programs across the province, partnering for many years with the province, municipalities and others.”
Ontario had given $7.4 million to the conservation authorities for that work, but they say that has now been reduced by 50 per cent.
Conservation authorities forecast flooding and issue warnings, monitor stream flow, regulate development activities in flood plains, educate the public about flooding and protect natural cover that helps reduce the impacts of flooding.
When asked to comment on why the hell you would do something so glaringly shortsighted and foolish, Natural Resources and Forestry Minister John Yakabuski had this to say.
Natural Resources and Forestry Minister John Yakabuski said the government is trying to eliminate the deficit — currently at $11.7 billion — and has asked conservation authorities to focus on their core mandate.
“Flood control is part of that core mandate and we’ve asked them to focus on that,” he said.
“Across the province we average less than 10 per cent of conservation authorities’ funding. In fact, some of them are as low as 2.5 per cent provincial funding. And we’ve heard from different conservation authorities across the province that have said that this will not affect their ability to deal with flood management.”
I don’t want to call the man a liar, but I’d love to know who he’s hearing from because literally every time I’ve seen this topic come up in print, on radio or on television, the most charitable thing anyone from any conservation authority has been able to muster is that they’re taking a wait and see approach and don’t know exactly what the changes are going to mean for them at the moment. If the comments don’t end there, the person then usually goes on to note that it’s going to have an impact, but oddly they never seem to indicate that it’s going to be a positive one. Strange, that.
Maybe if we all yell loudly enough about not wanting our homes and neighbourhoods under water, Doug will swoop in and make it all better by coming up with a program to partially fund swimming lessons.
Yes, I know that’s silly. Everyone knows Doug doesn’t want people learning things. Why else would he have slashed funding for libraries?
But hey, at least we can drink basically everywhere now, so everyone grab a cooler and some water wings and let’s try to make the best of it.