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NEWS: Council of Canadians water chapter in AFB 2011

The Canadian Press reports that, “It’s a budget that could give Finance Minister Jim Flaherty nightmares, but a left-leaning think tank says it’s one that would serve the country well coming out of recession. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is unveiling its annual ‘alternative federal budget’ in Ottawa on Tuesday, a 38-page document that shows what fiscal policy may look like if Canada were governed from the left.”

The Council of Canadians chapter in this year’s Alternative Federal Budget on water highlights these spending priorities:

  • $5 billion in 2011-12 to be invested in a National Public Water Fund, municipal water transfers would then reach their yearly target of $4 billion in 2012-13 in order to pay down the infrastructure deficit in 10 years.
  • $1 billion to build, upgrade and maintain water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities.
  • $1 billion from the existing funding in the Building Canada Fund and Green Infrastructure Fund, plus $3.375 billion in new funding over five years, to clean up areas of concern and zones d’intervention prioritaire, and protecting Canada’s waterways from invasive species, including funding to clean-up the Great Lakes.
  • $325 million over three years for the development of an overarching water quality and water quantity monitoring frameworks to assist provinces and communities, an increase in monitoring stations, and training for staff in water monitoring (including funds for the Global Environmental Monitoring System).
  • $150 million over three years to water operator training and certification in the public sector, along with water conservation programs.
  • $30 million to an in-depth study on the impact of the tar sands on water.
  • $5 million for a labeling program for water-efficient fixtures and appliances.
  • $2 million to fund nation-wide environmental assessments on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing.
  • funds to complete a comprehensive review on virtual water exports from Canada.

The news article notes, “The think-tank would roll back corporate tax cuts, create two new tax brackets for high-income Canadians, and cancel the F-35 fighter jet program. It would also establish a national carbon tax and a 28-per-cent tax rate for the oil patch. The money saved and generated could go into programs that would create new jobs, reduce income disparity, rebuild infrastructure, improve pension benefits and help the environment, it says.”

Our water chapter can be read at http://canadians.org/water/documents/AFB/water-11.pdf.

The Alternative Federal Budget 2011 can be read at http://www.policyalternatives.ca/afb2011.

  2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
Aboriginal affairs:      
First Nations safe drinking water 1,000 1,019 1,037
Cities and communities:      
Building community fund 1,500 6,000 6,000
National clean water fund 1,000 1,000 1,000
Label water efficient fixtures and appliances 5 5 5
Hydraulic fracturing assessment 2 0 0
Map Canada’s water sources and uses 3 0 0
Protect Canada’s freshwater resources 675 675 675
Study trade deal effects on water exports 1 0 0
Improved mining environmental assessments 50 50 50
Study of climate change effects on water 5 0 0