Austerity and obscurantism. These were the defining features of the first full calendar year of Stephen Harper’s majority government, which came to a quiet close this week.
Take, for instance, Bill C-38, Canada’s longest-ever federal budget. Setting out $5-billion in spending cuts, the budget was the most austere in over a decade. And yet, despite the depth of the slashes and thus their potential to remake the country, their nature and likely impacts remain intentionally obscure. As part of an omnibus budget, most of the cuts were not evaluated by the relevant parliamentary committees; details about their implementation were withheld from watchdogs and opposition MPs; and many cuts were to programs without which it will be very difficult to measure the price we’ve paid for austerity.
Toronto, May 31, 2013 – The provincial Cabinet announced today its approval of sweeping exemptions for industry under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA). Environmental organizations are incensed at the government’s abdication of its responsibility to protect and recover Ontario’s endangered plants and animals.
Niagara Region is getting an early start on consultations and input into the scheduled 2015 provincial review of the Greenbelt Plan. The Region’s, “Getting Ahead of the Provincial Review of the Greenbelt Plan – Strategy to Develop a made in Niagara Perspective”, outreach program is now underway. Sierra Club Ontario attended yesterday’s environmental focus group. A public meeting on the Greenbelt Plan takes place this evening at Balls Falls Conservation Centre.
The Greenbelt’s land-use policies protect environmental and agricultural lands from urban development and preserve the vibrant character of local towns and villages.
Sierra Club Canada congratulates Premier Kathleen Wynne for stepping up to save the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA).The ELA is an essential part of Canada's environmental protection infrastructure and necessary for understanding how our environment is impacted by human activity.
"We thought the ELA was an endangered species until Premier Wynne stepped up," said Dan McDermott, Director of Sierra Club Canada’s Ontario Chapter.
The ELA was fundamental in demonstrating the how our lakes were being effected by Sulphur emissions from power plants and smelters. ELA research ultimately led to the US-Canada air quality agreement which prompted a significant reduction in toxic emissions, for which Canadians can be grateful.
The International Year of Water Cooperation: Restore Our Water International aims to make a global issue local
World Water Day is held annually on March 22rd as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. 2013 has been declared as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.
Restore Our Water International (ROWI) is a non-profit organization concerned with the unfolding crisis of rapidly declining water levels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin. Mary Muter, Sierra Club’s Great Lakes Section Chair and ROWI Spokesperson, is extremely knowledgeable about Great Lakes issues and has worked proactively with a broad coalition of organizations and individuals to address environmental impacts.