Canada's forests are known around the world for their splendour and lush greenery. Our forest ecosystem is one of the world's largest and most healthy and all Canadians know that forests are absolutely vital to our well-being.
One of the best ways to combat the ravages of climate change is to have a healthy forest system - a forest system that is increasingly imperilled due to the prevalence of out-of-control wildfires and carbon pollution. When a forest burns down, it releases all the stored carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere and contaminates the air we breathe.
About a month ago, Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservatives saw it fit to cancel a program that wanted to plant 50 million new trees in Ontario by 2025. Canadians were understandably furious at this decision which would've resulted in thousands of lost jobs and was also a serious blow to Ontario's forest system.
Today, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources announced that the Canadian government will pledge $15 million over four years to support Ontario's 50 Million Trees initiative.
As today is World Environment Day, the Ministers couldn't have picked a better time to make this announcement. According to Catherine McKenna, the funds will be an investment "in clean air, a healthier environment, and more resilient communities." She also went on to say that this project will create good jobs and strengthen the economy.
Since Doug Ford cancelled and de-funded the plans to plant the 50 million trees, the Canadian government has bypassed provincial regulations and is using funds from the Low Carbon Economy Fund. The initiative began in 2017 and aims to generate clean growth in the economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support innovation in green technology.
Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources says that he is proud that the Government of Canada stepped up to support Ontario's 50 Million Trees Program and that the program is "is a practical and affordable way to support middle-class jobs and small businesses."
Apparently, Ontario has only planted a total of 27 million trees since 2007, according to Global News. This number is a far cry from what is actually needed to support a healthy ecosystem.
Ontario needs roughly 40% of forest cover to maintain a stable ecosystem. As of right now, that number averages out to only 26% province-wide, with some areas having a forest cover as low as 5%. Had the program not reached its goal, who knows what dire effects a lack of trees would have on the ecosystem.
In what's sure to be a hotly contested debate, the Trudeau government's overruling of Doug Ford doesn't come as a surprise. Whatever the Ford government responds to this, it's certain that public support will be unwavering for Trudeau and his Liberals.
What's more, is that the Canadian Government is working to double its investment in preserving nature reserves and has also launched the Nature Legacy Fund - the biggest program of its kind in Canadian history.
For more information about the Canadian Government's announcement, please read the official Newswire press release.
Also, check out the full details of the Low Carbon Economy Fund by clicking here.