David Suzuki On Climate Change and Canada's Budget
Next week's federal budget will mark the first real test of Paul Martin's commitment to fight climate change. We've heard the Prime Minister promise to meet our Kyoto targets — he even spoke to me personally and passionately about the agreement's importance. But we've seen little in the way of action. The sponsorship scandal, Liberal infighting and hedging over when to call an election have taken up most of his time in office so far.
It's too bad, because the bickering on Parliament Hill has prevented other critical work from being done. The money wasted in the sponsorship scandal pales in comparison to the billions of dollars a changing climate will cost Canadians.
Scientists tell us extreme weather events are expected to become more frequent and severe as climate change progresses. Such events are already costing us a fortune. Fighting out-of-control wildfires last summer cost British Columbia more than $500-million. In Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Hurricane Juan brought down millions of trees, with losses totalling $100-million. In Ontario, smog costs more than $1-billion a year in hospital admissions and absenteeism, according to the Ontario Medical Association.
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