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The David Suzuki Foundation welcomed today's federal budget as the first in almost a decade that seriously commits funding to climate change and clean energy, habitat conservation and a healthy environment.

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"After nearly a decade of federal budgets that pitted the environment against the economy, it is refreshing to see a budget that acknowledges a prosperous Canada depends on healthy ecosystems and a transition to a clean economy," said David Suzuki Foundation CEO Peter Robinson. "At the same time, we're concerned that the level of investment doesn't match the urgency of the environmental challenges Canada faces."

Leadership on clean energy and climate change:
Although total investment in public transit infrastructure is not what we hoped it would be, the commitment to fund up to 50 per cent of project costs shows federal leadership. The David Suzuki Foundation believes the best way to build healthy and sustainable communities is through more robust investment in public transit infrastructure.

Highlights include:

  • $3.4 billion for public transit over three years, starting in 2016-17.
  • $62.5 million over two years to support the deployment of infrastructure for alternative transportation fuels.

Conserving and protecting critical habitat
Though this budget moves us in the right direction in ocean science and conservation, it fails to provide adequate funding to meet targets based on Green Budget Coalition recommendations.

Highlights include:

  • $81.3 million over five years to support marine conservation activities
  • $197.1 million over five years to increase ocean and freshwater science, monitoring and research activities.

While this budget delivered on a number of key promises and helps move Canada toward a sustainable path, the lack of an announcement on carbon pricing, no meaningful investments in renewable energy development and the missed opportunity to phase out fossil fuel subsidies leave a lot of questions unanswered.

"If the government is serious about moving toward a clean energy future, a price on carbon and an end to fossil fuel subsidies must be part of the equation, and soon," Robinson said.

Media contacts:

Alvin Singh
Communications Manager
604-250-2651
asingh@davidsuzuki.org

March 22, 2016
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2016/03/budget-2016-contains-many-small-steps-no-large-leap-on-environment/