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Nature in the Federal Budget

There are many discussions today about the loss of jobs, the retirement age and the disappearing penny in yesterday's budget. But how did nature or wilderness fare?

The Federal budget has a mention of the Rouge National Urban Park - a solid paragraph about the importance of making this park a reality. This is something CPAWS has been working towards as well - an important step in helping to address the nature-deficit disorder. It isn't entirely clear to me how the creation of the park will benefit from the budget - there seems to be no money aside to create the park, only a written mention of it in the document. Parks Canada will be seeing a decrease of $29.2 million in their own budget as a part of the overall departmental cuts.

There is good news for the Species at Risk Act. Funding for the act will be renewed this year so that the work under it can continue. In a time of belt-tightening, it was refreshing to see this investment. The Green Budget Coalition made this a priority recommendation to the Federal Government and it was encouraging to see it reflected in the budget itself. There are also measures that will help to enhance water quality - although the details will come in subsequent legislation.

When it comes to environmental assessments of industrial projects, there is much discussion of 'streamlining' or 'modernizing' these assessements.

The budget's clearly stated purpose is to facilitate development. We need to ensure that the environmental concerns do not get entirely sidelined in the race to expoit our natural resources. As Canadians, we all need to keep an eye on this delicate balance. 

If you have a lot of pennies lying around, roll them up, put them into your bank account and make a donation to your favorite charity. The maple leaves on those pennies could help save a lot of trees!