Environment Axed As British Columbians Pay For B.C. Liberals’ Budget Lies

VICTORIA – This week’s budget puts the lie to the B.C. Liberals’ election promises to stand up for the environment but offers nothing new other than increased taxes and fees for British Columbians, the New Democrats said today.Rob Fleming

“While British Columbians learned they are going to be paying more out of their pocket for MSP premiums and the HST, the budget exposed the B.C. Liberals’ lies about protecting the environment,” said New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming .

“The B.C. Liberals staked their credibility on a platform that talked big about sustainability, but their actions don’t back that up. Gordon Campbell campaigned on the environment, but the government is slashing environmental protection and enforcement, and programs such as LiveSmart are being axed,” said Fleming.

Fleming noted that the B.C. Liberals are cutting on-the-ground environmental protection positions, yet are boosting the money for executive services in the ministry by over 60 per cent to pay for new political positions created for B.C. Liberal MLAs.

“The B.C. Liberals claimed to be standing up for the environment during the election, but now that the campaign is over the only new funding in the environment ministry is to themselves,” said Fleming.

“The B.C. Liberals lied about the true size of the deficit, and now future generations are going to pay the price as the B.C. Liberals slash programs and services to make up for their budget deception.”

Fleming noted Tuesday’s budget for the environment ministry was a 20 per-cent cut from February’s pre-election budget and a 27 per-cent cut compared to 2008. This will lead to deep cuts for front-line services and environmental protection.

Tuesday’s budget is bad for the environment:

Programs such as LiveSmart BC and Scrap-It were dropped entirely or cut back.

Clean energy products that were PST exempt will now cost more thanks to Campbell’s HST.

Cuts between 10 and 62 per cent to environmental protection, parks and protected areas, stewardship, compliance and enforcement and the Climate Action Secretariat.

Zero investment in closed-containment aquaculture, the green economy and new incentives for clean energy and energy efficiency.