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Ottawa pulls $100,000 from B.C. Sierra Club's climate-change initiative.

Posted Sep 22 2008 4:37pm
As we start down the trail of yet another federal election, one of the main campaign focuses of all parties, is our environment.  As you will see from the unabridged article below, the environment might not be as important to our government as we may think.  Check out the attached references for another article posted two days later on the subject.

By Fiona Morrow
Globe and Mail, September 02, 2008

Environment Canada has terminated a funding contract to the B.C. chapter of the Sierra Club of Canada, causing the possible closing of a climate-change program initiative.

Pat Dolan, executive director of Environment Canada’s outreach and biodiversity priorities division, telephoned the environmental non-profit group last week to say that the $100,000 funding contract, signed May 16, was terminated.

The grant had been approved through the EcoAction Community Funding program, a federal initiative created by the Chrétien government in 1995 and supported by subsequent administrations.

“I was informed that our application had been reviewed - after the signing of our contribution agreement - against the priorities of the program, that sometimes adjustments in priorities occur, and that as a result of that review our funding was terminated,” said Jenn Hoffman, development director of Sierra Club B.C. “I was told that we are not the only organization being impacted.”

The money had been targeted for the Sierra Club’s new House Cooling initiative, in which groups of workers, neighbours or others gather in one member’s house to discuss climate change and how they, as individuals or as a group, can reduce their carbon footprint.

Sierra Club B.C. supplies materials that give information about the practical steps people can take to reduce household greenhouse-gas emissions. At the end of the gathering, guests are invited to form their own Carbon Emission Reduction Club that will meet regularly so people can support each other in their greening efforts.

Sierra Club B.C. executive director Kathryn Molloy said she was outraged by the decision to cancel funding.

“I would like clarity as to why the program has been terminated,” she said. “I was told this was the best proposal EcoAction had ever seen. This issue of climate change and empowering people to make decisions to reduce their own impact and to educate them on these issues - it has never been more salient.

“It has never been more prudent for the government to be supporting this kind of work and we’ve never had this level of interest. In my view, right before an election, this is voter suicide on their part.”

Asked for a response, Environment Canada said in an e-mailed statement: “The department regularly reviews all of its grants and contribution funding projects to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are respected. The Department is informing project proponents on the results of the annual review. As per the terms of agreements, payments will be issued where money is owing for work already done. Any money freed up will be redirected to other programs and services to help protect our environment.”

An Environment Canada spokesman did confirm that Environment Minister John Baird is sometimes involved personally in the application review process. He could not confirm which, if any, other organizations might be affected, nor which specific issues had caused Sierra Club’s application to suddenly be deemed ineligible.

* Published with permission from Sierra Club BC


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