NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his government would more than double the disaster mitigation funds provided to communities.
He made the announcement in Gatineau, Que., which has suffered severe flooding and tornadoes in the last few years.
Following a string of natural disasters across the country, the Liberals committed $2 billion over 10 years to help communities. That money in the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund is used to match the funding of municipalities and provinces.
Under the Liberal plan, local governments must come up with half the cost and only infrastructure projects with a price tag of more than $20 million qualify.
Singh says the NDP would boost that funding to $4.5 billion over four years and lower the threshold to get projects approved, but still ask local governments to provide half the funding.
The money is to help communities respond to extreme weather events, Singh said. But it’s also intended to help them get ahead of the damage caused by climate change by adapting their infrastructure to, for example, withstand or divert floods, he said.
“What we’ve seen for too long is there’s a disaster, and then there’s a response,” he told reporters.
“And instead of responding after the case, what we’re proposing is if we give investments to municipalities right now, they can put in place the infrastructure to avoid this from happening.”
Singh said the NDP is also prepared to work with the provinces and municipalities to address the fears and concerns of homeowners on floodplains.
That initiative would fall under the NDP’s wider environmental plan, which would commit $15 billion to lower emissions and protect the environment.