Budget 2018’s laudable focus on shorter term affordability neglects longer term climate-related threats to affordability for B.C. families, businesses and communities.
Affordability is a huge issue for far too many working families, but longer term affordability issues are being neglected as a result. Budget 2018 attempts to address intensifying climate impacts—which will continue to get more and more expensive—but doesn’t allocate nearly enough resources to this growing challenge. We need to see more commitment to acting on climate change, and fast.
There’s no question the previous government’s gross mismanagement of ICBC has dramatically reduced the fiscal room available to the current government. But we need more than the small targeted funding lifts we see in Budget 2018.
Budget 2018 contains measures to address critical issues around wildfire and other climate impacts, groundwater protection, transitioning BC’s economy away from fossil fuels and improving land use planning with a focus on the participation of Indigenous peoples. Sierra Club BC welcomes these measures, but none of them is adequately resourced.
We know the costs of climate change are only going to rise. These costs will be borne by individuals, families, businesses, communities and all levels of government. Impacts such as longer, more intense wildfire seasons, drought in some parts of the province and flooding in others, and sea level rise have very real and mounting costs.
Yet the mitigation and adaptation measures in Budget 2018 pale in comparison to the challenges ahead.
Sierra Club BC does welcome the government’s initiative to kick start land use planning with meaningful involvement of Indigenous peoples. If we are to take the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission seriously, bringing in First Peoples as full and active partners is essential. It is the only way we can move forward on land use decisions in a meaningful way.
On the forests front, we don’t see enough movement to address the crisis facing our forests. On Vancouver Island, we are losing old-growth rainforest at a rate of 34 soccer fields a day. Much more needs to be done or we will see these magnificent trees disappear forever.
Download our new State of Vancouver Island’s Coastal Temperate Rainforest map showing the scarce remaining endangered old-growth rainforest ecosystems and recent old-growth destruction on Vancouver Island.