March 12th, 2020

NDP MPPs demand Ford reverse his deep cuts to flooding response

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPPs Percy Hatfield (Windsor—Tecumseh) and Taras Natyshak (Essex) have demanded Doug Ford reverse his reckless cuts to flood management funding that has left families in south western Ontario at serious risk.

“Flooding on our lakes and rivers has turned many dreams into nightmares in south western Ontario. A state of emergency has been declared along Erie Shore Drive in Chatham Kent. Homeowners have been evacuated – they don’t know if they’ll ever be allowed to return.”

“This government slashed funding for flood response in their previous budget by 50 per cent. With your next budget coming out this month, will you reverse those cuts?,” asked Hatfield during question period Thursday at the Ontario legislature.

Last week, the Ford’s minister of natural resources and forestry released the government’s flooding “strategy” without a single cent of funding which will do nothing to protect families and businesses at risk of flooding. This is despite the government’s own flooding expert producing a report recommending new funding.

“The minister is ignoring his special adviser and all the experts — with an empty strategy and zero funding to address the urgent need to protect families in Essex and across south western Ontario from the growing risk of flooding,” said Natyshak.

Hatfield spoke in the legislature of the devastating impact of flooding in the region with banks eroding and falling into Lake Erie at Wheatley Provincial Park, a dyke breached at Hillman Marsh in Leamington and the closure of a street in Belle River.

“With the climate crisis in Ontario in full swing, this government seems ready to cover its eyes and pretend this problem will fix itself. Well it won’t. And my constituents deserve better.

“Will the government agree to reserve course and restore the funding they cut from flood mitigation programs in southwest Ontario?,” asked Hatfield.