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Climate change focus of B.C. budget after floods, wildfires and heat waves

Human and infrastructure damage of the past year will be a major focus

The challenges of climate change facing British Columbia are expected to be the main focus of the budget Finance Minister Selina Robinson tables today.

Robinson says ensuring communities have the resources they need to address climate change will form a large part of the New Democrat government’s budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Robinson told a pre-budget news conference on Monday that the realities of climate change hit the province over the past year with deadly heat waves, wildfires and storms that caused major flooding and infrastructure damage across southern B.C.

She says the budget will include details about the government’s plans to introduce a year-round B.C. Wildfire Service dedicated to full-time fire prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

But Robinson was saying little about the financial accounting of the damage caused by last fall’s floods and mudslides that hit agricultural operations in the Fraser Valley, left communities evacuated and brought vital transportation links to a standstill.

In November, Robinson forecast a budget deficit of $1.7 billion for the 2021-22 fiscal year, down from the original projection of $9.7 billion last February.

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