SASKATOON — Canada's minister for public safety and emergency preparedness has told delegates at an international irrigation and drainage conference that flood and fire losses are costing Canadian taxpayers $1 billion a year.
Ralph Goodale also told the 500 delegates at the Saskatoon conference that climate change has resulted in storms that dump a year's worth of precipitation in a matter of days, followed by severe drought.
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 Canada has spent more in the last five or six years cleaning up after wildfires and floods due to climate change than was spent in the entire previous history of the program stretching 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.
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.
The Canadian Press