Budget is business-as-usual at a crisis moment that demands anything but
February 6, 2019
(Ottawa) – Today, Jim Watson presented the draft 2019 City of Ottawa budget. The most notable aspect of this budget is what it did not say. In Jim Watson’s remarks, there was no mention of the climate crisis, or even climate change more generally. This comes at a time when the United Nations warns us we have 11 years left to avoid global climate catastrophe, and when cities like Halifax and Vancouver are declaring climate emergencies and modifying budgets and policies accordingly.
“Halifax and Vancouver are leading the way by calling the climate crisis what it is – an emergency – and are using policies and funds to respond accordingly,” said Robb Barnes, executive director of Ecology Ottawa. “Ottawa’s draft budget 2019 is a business-as-usual document at a crisis moment that demands anything but.”
While “resilience” was one of the themes of the budget stated by Watson at the outset of the presentation, there was no indication that the City of Ottawa has a clear resilience strategy when it comes to climate change. Even as the city directed more money to areas such as affordable housing, the implications of climate change impacts on Ottawans – especially the most vulnerable – remain an unanswered question.
“The mayor should be commended for seeking to make Ottawa a more caring city, and for making some investments in this area” said Mr. Barnes. “But we do a profound disservice to all Ottawa residents if we fail to address and respond to the impacts of climate change.”
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