The word around the water cooler is that Budget 2018 was successful in continuing the federal government’s investment in land and freshwater protections improving access to clean drinking water for First Nations communities.
Association of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde noted that First Nations successfully advocated for $11.8 billion over 6 years in the past two federal budgets, with increased spending across the board, including for water systems.”Budget 2018 sets out important and overdue investments that will help protect First Nations children and keep them with their families and in healthy homes,” said Bellegarde. “The investments in our children set a solid foundation for our future, and the long-term investments in First Nations governments and infrastructure sets a strong foundation for re-building our nations.”
The Nature Conservancy of Canada stated that the federal government’s $1.3 billion over five years affirms its commitment Canada Target 1, the pledge to protect 17 per cent of our land and inland waters and 10 per cent of our coastal and marine areas by the end of the decade.
“This is a game-changer for conservation in Canada—a historic investment in nature that will support important work to protect the habitats, animals and plants that are at greatest risk in our country,” said John Lounds, president and CEO, Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Similarly, Ducks Unlimited Canada commended the federal government for the same strides to reach Target 1, and boreal forest specifically for its abundance of wetlands. “The boreal region is incredibly important, not just for Canada but globally,” said Leslie Bogdan, DUC’s regional director of operations for the boreal. “Boreal wetlands provide habitat for millions of migrating waterfowl, help filter the largest surface area of freshwater on the planet, and store nearly 150 billion tonnes of carbon.”
Engineers Canada was also encouraged by the government’s proposed investment of $120 million over the next five years to adapt Canada’s weather and water services to climate change. The organization said that consistent national climate data will ensure accurate climate projections for better infrastructure vulnerability assessments, which will enable effective planning for present and future projects.
“While this investment acknowledges the importance of national climate data, we anticipate that the federal government will continue to support climate resilience and adaptation in order to keep Canada competitive and its economy growing,” said Jeanette M. Southwood, FCAE, FEC, LL.D. (h.c.), P.Eng., IntPE, Engineers Canada’s vice-president, strategy and partnerships.