Thursday, May 30, 2019

Invasive species funding slashed

Budgets to fight invasive species have been slashed by the Ontario government, leaving those working on the issues discouraged and warning there will be more expensive long-term consequences.

Funding for the Ontario Invasive Species Council has been eliminated; it was $100,000 last year.

Funding for the Ontario Anglers and Hunters invasive species program has been cut by 43 per cent.

Belinda Jenkins, executive director of the Ontario Invasive Species Council, said the program to curb phragmites is an example of long-term expenses because the European grass is spreading relentlessly, breaking up roads, clogging drains, creating fires, threatening at-risk species such as turtles and changing landscapes.

The Ford government said the budget cuts are necessary to ensure there is enough money for medical care and education.

That's simply not true. Any lack of money is due more to Doug Ford's decision to cut taxes by $3.6 billion than to programs such as those to counter invasive species.