QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement after news the 50 Million Tree Program had been cut:
“It’s clear that the Premier does not believe that the new licence plate slogan “a place to grow” applies to trees and forests. For them, Ontario is no longer a place to grow, but instead a place to get axed.
The government seems determined to axe every environmental program.
I am calling on sitting MPPs like Lisa Thompson, Toby Barrett, Ted Arnott, Bill Walker and Randy Pettapiece to stand up for tree planting as they did publicly in opposition.
Eliminating the 50 million trees program weakens Ontario’s ability to fight climate change and absorb the impact of extreme weather events. This move is yet another signal that the government is getting out of the business of land stewardship, something past PC governments supported.
The trees planted by this program offset emissions equivalent to taking 1.1 million cars off the road for an entire year, in addition to delivering $82 million annually in environmental benefits from flood prevention to pollination.
These short-sighted cuts also disregard the 310 full time jobs provided by this program.
It is reckless and short-sighted for this government to ignore the free services that nature provides, even as flood waters rage in Bracebridge and threaten parts of Muskoka.
For a government that calls itself fiscally responsible, it sure seems willing to throw out the jobs, work, and savings of good environmental programs.”