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Federal budget bad for people and the planet, says Council of Canadians

Ottawa – The Council of Canadians says the federal budget outlines a plan to deliberately undermine health care, water, and the climate.

“Budget 2012 continues the Harper government’s full on attack on environmental protection and a sustainable energy future,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “There is no money towards ‘no brainer’ investments like energy efficiency and renewable energy, plenty of money to subsidize the tar sands and a slashing and burning of environmental assessments.”

“The Harper government has chosen to cut health care funding from the ageing, the ill, and those who live in the poorest provinces,” says Adrienne Silnicki, Health Care Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “This budget will lead to two-tiered health care in Canada and it will benefit no one.”

“The federal government failed to allocate funding for costs that will be incurred by the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act. The will open the door to privatization of water systems in some First Nations communities as well forcing some communities go give up control,” says Emma Lui, Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “The lack of any dedicated funding for the Great Lakes will seriously hinder governments and communities’ abilities to address the environmental challenges facing North America’s largest water source.”

“$79.3 million in cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will severely undermine the ability of the federal government to regulate water pollution throughout the country,” says Meera Karunananthan, National Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “Furthermore, the addition of coal and diamond mines to the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation will only serve to grant them access the MMER’s Schedule 2 loophole, which enables mining companies to apply for exemptions from the Act in order to dump toxic waste into lakes. This comes at a time when the Federal government is considering major revisions that will severely weaken the Fisheries Act.”