Funding cut for Mohawk climate centre

Mohawk College’s new Centre for Climate Change Management will no longer receive funding as of August 10 and some say it is due to Premier Doug Ford’s decision to end the province’s cap-and-trade carbon emissions program.

“It’s obviously a blow,” Mohawk President, Ron McKerlie told CBC News. “The project continues on so we will find a way and we’re looking for additional partners now not surprisingly.”

The Centre for Climate Change Management is a joint initiative between the college, the cities of Hamilton and Burlington, and Sustainable Hamilton Burlington.

“The cities of Burlington and Hamilton are strong partners. They are very committed to this, as are we and so we’ll find a way forward,” said McKerlie.

The province was to provide $1.2 million between December 2017 and March 2019 to Mohawk for the centre.

Hamilton West-Ancaster Dundas NDP MPP, Sandy Shaw, said that the centre would have helped fast-track the Hamilton region’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Now this much-needed centre will be forced to scramble for funding in order to ensure that the region can keep this initiative alive.”

The $1.2 million in funding cuts to the centre are the latest in a series of funding cuts to come from Ford’s move to scrap the cap-and-trade program. In recent weeks, the city’s public schools lost over $2 million in renovation funding after the cap-and-trade program was cut while the city of Hamilton lost funding intended for an electric bus pilot project. Shaw explained that as a result, the cost of polluting falls on residents to bear.

“Cancelling cap-and-trade only hurts Ontario businesses, with small businesses suffering the most. The federal government has made clear they will charge people by putting a price on carbon if Ontario stops its program that has big polluters pay. Families can’t afford that.”

The office will move to Mohawk’s new Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation net-zero energy use building that is set to open in September of this year. The building will be the largest net-zero energy use building in Canada and the federal government provided $20 million to have the centre built.

Mohawk College had Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger, Burlington mayor Rick Goldring, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and Liberal MP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas and newly appointed minister of seniors, Filomena Tassi out to the grounds for a tour of the centre last week.

“What’s really unfortunate is the Doug Ford government isn’t committed to saving folks money because the whole point on taking action on climate change and to build better is to make sure that things are more energy efficient so the money that the provincial government had committed to them is now cut,” McKenna told CBC news.

Do you think it was a good idea for Premier Doug Ford to end the province’s cap-and-trade carbon emissions program? Let us know in the comments below.

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