7 billion. That is a big number. The Liberal government is planning on spending more than that on the environment in the next two years. Indeed, the CBC reported that the Liberal’s kept with their election promises on the environment.
So how does that shake down by the numbers?
$2.5 billion = public transit
$1.8 billion = green infrastructure, including (much needed) repair and upgrade to water systems
$1.7 billion = climate mitigation and environmental protection
$574 million = energy and water efficiency upgrades
$401 million = clean teach development spending
These are large numbers and can be sliced and diced in different directions. For example, it is actually $11.9 billion being spent on infrastructure and some of that is related to environmental protection and upgrades. I like this graphic from the Globe and Mail:
As you can see, in the infrastructure spending there is money for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. That is clearly environmental spending. Then there are categories of an overlapping nature – water infrastructure. That is not exactly about protecting water quality for the sake of the environment. No, it is really about public health. But, hey, that’s okay – a win, a win. Similarly, “public transit” isn’t necessarily about the environment. It is really about getting people where they need to go to keep the economy and society functioning. But better public transportation means less carbon emissions. So, hey, that’s okay – a win, a win.
This all sounds good, right? Why is the David Suzuki Foundation not impressed? Over concern that “the level of investment doesn’t match the urgency of the environmental challenges Canada faces.” The DSF was hoping for more news on carbon pricing, alternative energy investments, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. (Me too).
To that end, the Minister of Finance, Hon. Morneau, also announced an additional $1 billion in the next budget (2018-2019) to establish a “low carbon economy fund” that will give funding to provinces/territories that sign onto a Canadian climate agreement. Sounds like a bribe. I like it. It is also what we call “federal leadership.”
I am waiting for other environmental groups and the Pembina Institute to release their comments and analysis on the budget. We need some number crunchers to think this through from an environmental prospective. I will keep you posted on further details!