(Ottawa) Following Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's kick-off to his pre-budget consultations in Toronto Friday, Canadian environmental organisations released their priority recommendations for the 2011 federal budget, including measures that could save the government well over $800 million per year.
The document highlights priority recommendations for a conservation plan for Canada, energy efficiency, and freshwater resources, plus a suite of subsidy reform measures - addressing tax subsidies for oil, mining, nuclear power, and chrysotile asbestos promotion - whose savings could fund most of the preceding three recommendations.
The Green Budget Coalition comprises 21 of Canada's leading environmental and conservation organizations and has made annual budget recommendations since 1999. Its detailed budget recommendations are contained in Recommendations for Budget 2011.
“We are heeding widespread desires for fiscal constraint and for integrating the government's economic, energy, and environmental strategies,” said Barry Turner, chair of the Green Budget Coalition and Director of Government Relations, Ducks Unlimited Canada. “This is a prime time to end expensive subsidy programs which act contrary to the government's sustainability objectives.”
“At the same time, it is crucial that the federal government preserves its existing capacity to protect the environment, nature and Canadians' health from pollution. The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has highlighted the extensive costs that can occur when environmental protection is sacrificed for short-term financial savings.”
Recommendations also highlight opportunities for progress in carbon pricing, air quality, renewable energy, public transit, global climate finance, the ecological gifts program, and natural capital indicators.
GBC members are meeting this week with MPs from all political parties as well as senior government officials, to discuss these recommendations.
The GBC's 21 members represent over 600,000 Canadians, and include Bird Studies Canada, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, David Suzuki Foundation, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Équiterre, Greenpeace Canada, International Institute for Sustainable Development, MiningWatch Canada, Nature Canada, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Pembina Institute, Sierra Club Canada, Social Investment Organization, Wildlife Habitat Canada, and WWF-Canada.
For more information on the Green Budget Coalition and its recommendations for the 2011 Budget, please see the Recommendations document at http://greenbudget.ca/media/green-budget-coalition-responds-to-budget-2011/, or contact:
Andrew Van Iterson, Manager, Green Budget Coalition (613) 562-3447 ext. 243, e-mail: avaniterson(at)naturecanada.ca
Barry Turner, Chair, Green Budget Coalition, and Director of Government Relations, Ducks Unlimited Canada (613) 565-5294, e-mail: b_turner(at)ducks.ca
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