Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is pointing to climate change as the root cause behind the $1 billion in flood and fire losses the country’s taxpayers cover each year.
Speaking to 500 participants at an international irrigation and drainage conference last week, the veteran cabinet minister said climate change “has resulted in storms that dump a year’s worth of precipitation in a matter of days, followed by severe drought,” The Canadian Press reports. “Goodale said the proof is in the amount of money Ottawa has spent to clean up flood and fire damage under the disaster relief program.”
He said the impacts of floods and wildfires have cost Canadians more over the last five or six years than in the entire previous history of the program, which dates back to 1970.
“Goodale said the challenge for government is having the political will to do something about it over the medium and long terms,” CP reports. “But he said government budget-makers are under huge pressure to fund projects that bring quick political gratification rather than build on longer-term objectives.”