QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to the release of the Auditor General’s report on the State of the Environment in Ontario.
“We are in a climate emergency. But instead of sounding the alarm, the Premier is pouring fuel on the fire.
And today’s AG report is a stark reminder of this government’s failure to act.
Most concerningly, we are losing our protected areas at an alarming rate:
- The amount of land lost to deforestation each year is almost four times greater on average than the amount established as new forests;
- Only 10.8 percent of our land and water is conserved within a protected area – not even close to the target of 17 percent we were supposed to have achieved in 2020;
- And this government has thrown out its own targets on restricting wetland loss while simultaneously ramping up attacks on conservation authorities and on our Greenbelt.
This is a government that does not care about our province’s environment or the real risks communities are facing due to their pave-at-all-costs approach.
They’re running full-speed-ahead in the wrong direction – doubling down on polluting fossil gas plants that will increase climate pollution. Sacrificing vast areas of farms, forests and wetlands to reckless sprawl development.
They’re setting Ontario on a steady course for climate disaster – and the on-the-ground effects are devastating.
Communities are already bearing the burden of climate-fueled infrastructure damage. Municipal budgets – stretched too thin to begin with – are now going to repairing roads and buildings wrecked by storms and severe weather.
Family farms are forced to weather the effects of rising temperatures, droughts, wildfires and floods without support.
This is a slap in the face to the people of Ontario – especially when it’s so clear that we could be leading the charge in the trillion-dollar climate economy.
We have the solutions. But we need to act now – not five years from now, and not decades into the future.”