Green MPPs in minority government will promote good local jobs, while fighting climate change and reducing pollution

Toronto, Ontario – The Green Party of Ontario is the only party with a plan to support job creation while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). A report released last week by the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy estimated that ignoring climate change could cost Canada’s economy $5 billion per year by 2020.

According to the Environment Commissioner of Ontario’s 2011 Annual Greenhouse Gas Progress Report, Ontario is not on track to meet its 2014 and 2020 reduction goals. The largest sources of GHG emissions include buildings and transportation, yet the old parties have plans that will move Ontario exactly in the wrong direction.

“All three of the old parties are playing shell games with our tax dollars, borrowing money to subsidize the wasteful use of energy,” said Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner. “The Green Party of Ontario is the only party not subsidizing energy use in ways that reward the biggest users, but helping Ontarians save money by saving energy.”

Earlier this year, the Liberal government let a successful home energy retrofit plan expire. Despite the fact that this program saved home owners money, saved the province money and generated thousands of community based jobs, no party at Queen’s Park fought for this program.

Green MPPs will fight for good programs like an Ontario Green Building Program. This program would create an estimated 20,000 plus jobs in communities across Ontario, and help homeowners, tenants and businesses save money by saving energy.

All the old parties are proposing subsidies that will move Ontario backward and get in the way conservation and efficiency, which are the only ways to provide long term relief for rising energy bills. The NDP goes one step further in the wrong direction, by subsidizing gas guzzlers.

“The NDP’s plan to subsidize gas guzzlers simply won’t work. It will only increase demand for gas, driving up prices, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Schreiner. “Our economic success depends on Ontario becoming more efficient in our use of energy, not less. I’m shocked the other parties don’t understand this, especially the Conservatives.”

“The other parties have made a lot of promises. In a minority government situation, those promises require support of a majority of MPPs,” concluded Schreiner. “One Green MPP will be able to use their vote to demand that job creation and climate change stay on the agenda at Queen’s Park.”

Your Green MPPs will create jobs, tackle climate change, and reduce pollution by:

• Creating a Green Building Program by investing $1.6B over four years to help homeowners, tenants and businesses retrofit their buildings and purchase energy efficient products to conserve energy.

• Helping people save money by saving energy with tax credits to make purchasing fuel efficient vehicles more affordable.

• Providing $400M in tax credits to reduce commuting and make transit more affordable

• Investing $200M in active transportation infrastructure money directly to local municipalities to make our roads safer for all users.

• Implement a $10 per tonne price on carbon to provide market incentives that encourage the efficient use of resources and discourage greenhouse gas emissions, and using revenue to:

o Lower personal income taxes by immediately increasing the personal tax exemption by $2000.

o Lower small business payroll taxes by raising the exemption level for the Employer Health tax from $400,000 to $800,000 in payroll; this eliminates the Employer Health Tax for small businesses with payrolls less than $800,000, making it easier for businesses to create more jobs.

o Provide $400 million in refundable tax credits for seniors, low income residents, and individuals living in rural areas to help with rising energy prices.

Media Contact:

Rebecca Harrison
Director of Communications
Green Party of Ontario
(905) 999 – 5479
rebeccaharrison@gpo.ca