Toronto – Statement from Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner on McGuinty’s irresponsible decision to keep the expensive Clean Energy Benefit:
“Premier McGuinty’s decision to reject Drummond’s deficit fighting recommendation to cancel the misnamed Clean Energy Benefit is the ultimate in short-term thinking. The decision puts cynical politics ahead of responsible policy. Ontario can’t afford Premier McGuinty’s shell game with our money.
If McGuinty doesn’t have the courage to tackle obvious low hanging fruit, we cannot depend on him to make the tough decisions on fighting the deficit.
The misleadingly named Clean Energy Benefit, which is a 10% rebate for rate-payers based on electricity consumption, costs Ontario $1.1 billion each year and benefits the wealthiest the most. A more equitable and financially responsible approach is to replace it with a targeted rebate program for low income families and seniors who really need help.
Deficit reduction must start with fairness. There is no point in canceling programs or laying people off until we address wasteful spending.
McGuinty’s decision completely undermines the province’s conservation efforts. The Liberal’s talk on conservation is cheap, but the government’s inaction is costing us billions.
Undermining energy efficiency is bad for our economy and environment. It will lead to higher energy costs because we will have to spend billions on new sources of energy. This means the costs to our businesses and households will go up. The smart solution is to help people save money by saving energy and make Ontario more competitive in the process.
Ontario needs political leadership with the courage to come clean with people on the tough decisions we need to make to balance the budget. We can’t keep punting our problems to the next generation.”