Not only has the Harper Conservatives terminated a highly popular energy efficiency program, but they are dropping the guillotine even earlier than planned, a move that has the Greens seeing red. “The ecoEnergy program represents low-hanging fruit in terms of investment to greenhouse gas reductions. It should be continued indefinitely and expanded. It creates jobs, it helps working families reduce their heating bills; it is really a great program. Cutting it was a mistake but now announcing that it will end two months earlier than planned is really an insult to all who work in the retrofit industry,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced a sudden closing of the ecoEnergy Retrofit – Homes program on Sunday, January 29, two months before expected, and has limited what is left of the program to 250,000 registered homeowners. Representatives of the Save ecoEnergy Coalition are crying foul, saying that Prime Minister Harper has broken his budget promise to invest $400 million into the program. With the registration capped, the investment will be less than half of what was promised.
“We should be maximizing this program, not incapacitating it,” said May. “Investing in energy efficiency and providing small grants to home owners is economic stimulus that actually works, not to mention the benefits to the environment.”
Home retrofit incentive programs have been shown to generate double the tax revenue for every dollar invested in homeowner grants. The Green Party of Canada has proposed increasing the home energy retrofit grants by 50% and introducing programs for low income housing, municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals.
“Now that they have shamed Canada by severing our involvement in the Kyoto Protocol, the Harper Conservatives are going full force into gutting Canada’s environmental programs and regulations. This latest salvo reinforces that this government is truly out of step with the rest of the world and with what Canadians want for their country,” said May.