Skip to content

NEWS: Giles speaks against RCEN funding cut, austerity measures

The Halifax Media Co-op reports, “Grassroots environmental groups and organizers were hit hard by last Thursday’s federal announcement that the half-million dollars that funds Canada’s environmental networks would be terminated. …The cuts amount to $547,000–the entire core budget for the Ottawa office, the 10 provincial networks and the Yukon network.”

“The (Reseau) Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) was established in 1977 to promote and streamline environmental work being done by grassroots organizations and to provide Canadians working on the ground a platform for engagement with Environment Canada and their provincial departments. In fact, RCEN plays a critical role in democratic policy-building in Canada, functioning as the formalized mechanism for federally-legislated stakeholder consultations on environmental policy and projects; ‘meaningful public participation’ is called for in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. …RCEN member groups represent some 630,000 active individuals. Ninety-eight per cent of the work done in the networks is voluntary.”

“‘Austerity measures is code for spending priorities’, said Angela Giles of the Council of Canadians, pointing out that these priorities were playing out the very day of the Nova Scotia Environmental Network-organized press conference. While the panel addressed the Harper government’s $547,000 cutback to grassroots environmental work across the country, Premier Dexter was at the Halifax shipyards to congratulate Irving on its $25 billion dollar federal shipbuilding contract win. Media attention was painfully absent (this volunteer reporter was the sole media person at the press conference). And the announcement that cut $18,000 from Nova Scotia’s environmental communities also came the day after Dexter announced a $10 million provincial investment in aerospace and defence jobs in Nova Scotia.”