Federal cuts deliver a blow to provincial environment network

(Photo: flickr.com/Fotophilius)

Funding cuts to the Canadian Environment Network (CEN), revealed yesterday by federal Environment Minister Peter Kent, will have a serious impact on environmental non-profit organisations in Newfoundland and Labrador.

As provincial affiliate of the CEN, the Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Network (NLEN) is an umbrella organisation for approximately 40 non-governmental environmental organisations across the province. An annual grant of approximately $18,000 – $20,000 from the CEN has covered the core operating expenses of the NLEN since its inception in 1990. “Though it’s a modest amount of money,” stated Chris Hogan, NLEN Executive Director, “it has allowed us to operate a part-time office and serve as a hub for the province’s environmental non-profit sector for 21 years. This decision means the NLEN can no longer avail of this core funding – it’s a serious blow to our organisation.”

“The NLEN serves a crucial role in the community,” explained Hogan. “We organise public forums for dialogue on environmental issues, we facilitate communications amongst our members, government, and a variety of stakeholders, we raise public awareness, and we promote solutions to environmental challenges.”

“It is extremely unfortunate that the federal government has chosen to turn its back on basic people-driven environmental initiatives like the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Network,” stated Dr. William Montevecchi, member of the Sandy Pond Alliance for the Protection of Canadian Waters.  “As environmental overseers, we need government commitments and actions that take a long-term vision for the Canadian environment that is the basis for our well-being, wealth and culture. To do otherwise is to put Canadians at global disadvantages and unnecessary risk.”

“The Canadian Environmental Network and its provincial affiliates including NLEN provide a great service in coordinating volunteer activities of a myriad of environmental groups that provide essential services in environmental education, monitoring, and input to the environmental protection process,” said Dr. John D. Jacobs, President of Nature Newfoundland and Labrador. “Past federal governments have shown much foresight in providing basic financial support for these networks, at a modest cost far below the value of their contributions. That the Harper government should see ending of this support as being fiscally prudent shows its lack of understanding of basic economics, as much as its disregard for the health of our environment.”

“We are facing a growing number of environmental pressures in this province, from declining caribou populations, to rising greenhouse gas emissions, and chronic oil spills in the offshore,” said Margaret McKeon, volunteer co-chair of the NLEN Steering Committee. “Cutting support for grassroots organisations that are striving to protect our natural environment is a big step backwards.”

– 30 –

For further information contact:

Chris Hogan
Executive Director
Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Network
709-753-7898 (office) / nlen.ed@gmail.com / www.nlen.ca

Dr. William Montevecchi
Sandy Pond Alliance for the Protection of Canadian Waters
709-864-7673 / mont@mun.ca

Dr. John D. Jacobs
Nature Newfoundland and Labrador
709-738-3147 / jjacobs@nl.rogers.com

Margaret McKeon
Steering Committee Co-chair
Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Network
709-634-6587 / margaret.mckeon@gmail.com

One thought on “Federal cuts deliver a blow to provincial environment network

  1. The NLEN has played a huge role in fostering the community of interest that addresses environmental issues in this Province. They’ve provided all kinds of opportunities for people to ‘plug in’. As a former NLEN staffer myself, I am especially conscious of the legacy of this organization (over two decades!) and how very big a loss this decision represents to Newfoundland and Labrador.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s