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article imageOn World Environment Day, Ottawa saves 50 million tree program

By Karen Graham     Jun 5, 2019 in Environment
Ottawa - On World Environment Day, the federal government announced it is putting up $15 million over four years to rescue the 50 Million Tree Program which was cut by the Ontario government of Doug Ford.
Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, announced today that the Government of Canada intends to invest up to $15 million over four years to support Forests Ontario's 50 Million Tree Program.
In a statement to CBC Canada, McKenna said preserving the program is essential. It will mean cleaner air, a healthier environment, and good local jobs.
"While Mr. Ford cuts programs that support tree planting, forest firefighting, flood management, and tackling climate change, we will continue to invest in a clean future for our environment, our economy, and our kids," she said.
Program cut by Doug Ford's government
The $4.7 million annual program was cut by Premier Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative government in its April budget. The program aimed to plant 50 million trees across the province and has been successful in already planting 27 million trees since 2008.
The province has funded tree planting for over a century. Not only do trees reduce air pollution and erosion, but they also act as a sponge to soak up water, lessening the effect of flooding.
 Trees are th gift that keeps on giving   says Ferguson Tree Nursery.
"Trees are th gift that keeps on giving," says Ferguson Tree Nursery.
Ferguson Tree Nursery
Basically, the new funding will help in supporting the planting and growing of an additional 10 million trees, bringing the total to 37 million. Rob Keen, a Registered Professional Forester, and CEO of Forests Ontario said it takes three to four years for a tree to go from a seed to being big enough to be planted in its final destination.
"This funding ensures that the momentum and good work of Forests Ontario and our planting partners will be maintained. This is important 'seed money' to be matched by others—an approach that is embraced by our organization. In the immediate term, it means the investments made by nurseries and others will not be lost."
Ed Patchell, CEO of the Ferguson Tree Nursery in Kemptville, Ont., also welcomes the funding. He has one of the main nurseries in the project. In April, Patchell was worrying about having to destroy the three million trees at his nursery at various stages of growth, saying at that time he was not going to destroy them right away,
He is now very happy they will now be guaranteed a permanent home when they are ready to plant. "I think it's great that the feds have stepped up. I would like to see the province step up, to see value in the program and contribute as well but we'll see what happens," he said.
More about Ontario government, 50 million tree program, Ottawa, World environment day, Four years
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