By: Mike Anderson

Despite making a commitment during the 2019 federal election to provide $40 million for the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund, the Liberals have apparently backed away from their promise.

This is shameful. Especially in light of a recent report from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) that says the lake’s phosphorus levels have been trending higher, spiking at 131 tonnes in 2017, the most recent reporting period.

This level is up from 73 tonnes in 2016, and significantly higher than the target of 44 tonnes set by the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan in 2009.

Clearly, the lake is under pressure from increased sewage outflows, agricultural pollution and stormwater run-off. There’s also the negative impacts of invasive species and climate change.

It’s strange that the federal liberals would push a carbon tax to meet global targets set out in the Paris Accords, but conveniently ignore their own environmental targets at home — like cleaning up Ontario’s sixth-largest inland lake and ensuring the survival of it’s cold water fishery.

A lake that is polluted and suffers from algae blooms is not a lake where people want to fish, swim-in or sunbathe next to.

In short, an unhealthy Lake Simcoe will be devastating to this region’s local economy.

According to MP Scot Davidson, during the ten years the Lake Simcoe Clean-up Fund was operational, close to 28 tonnes of phosphorus was prevented from entering the lake.

This was achieved by planting thousands of native trees and shrubs to stabilize shorelines and reduce phosphorus run-off, and developing stormwater and sewage management systems that reduced point sources of phosphorus. 

Despite calls from Mr Davidson and other Conservative MPs around the Lake, and the LSRCA’s own plea to restore funding, Prime Minister Trudeau and his Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson have steadfastly refused to do so.

It’s clear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Wilkinson are playing politics with the health of Lake Simcoe. After all, a promise made, should be a promise kept.

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