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Cost-Sharing Challenge Proposed

After a decade of talk and pilot projects, how to get the ball rolling?

Ian Wishart floated a “controversial” challenge to participants at the MCDA-hosted information session.

“There are three levels of government in this country,” he said. “Sometimes I curse them, because getting concurrence between levels of government is probably the biggest challenge in a lot of things these days.”

Although the environment has traditionally been the jurisdiction of the federal and provincial governments, he urged the roughly 80 people in attendance, who were mainly municipal and MCDA representatives, to take the initiative in “breaking the log-jam” as the R. M. of Blanshard had done in pushing for the ALUS pilot program.

“I would suggest today that you should go home and think very seriously about putting a challenge on the table on behalf of your conservation districts,” said Wishart.

“Say, ‘We’re prepared to put up money, our own money, some of it in kind – because we want to deliver the program – and some of it as hard cash, on the condition that we get federal and provincial governments to participate.’”

Allies exist throughout the provincial and federal government, he added, who are willing to join the push for a phased-in provincial approach, even if the initial stages don’t include the full range of environmental benefits.

“You’ve got to get started sometime,” he said. “If before you started farming, you waited until you could afford to buy the perfect farm, you’d still be waiting.” [email protected]

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