NDP’s call to subsidize pollution — politics wins out over good policy

Tax cuts for the rich.  Policy that borrows money to increase pollution and subsidize fossil fuel producers.  

You might expect such short-sighted vote harvesting from Tim Hudak’s Tories.  But the NDP’s Andrea Horwath?  

In case you missed it, on the Friday before March Break, the NDP announced that removing the HST from home heating fuels was one of their conditions for supporting the Liberal budget.

This is flat out bad economic and environmental policy.

I had hoped the NDP would have regained some principles after the smack down they received for platform promises to subsidize pollution during the fall provincial election.  The David Suzuki Foundation reported: “Politics trump good energy policy…again” and NOW columnist Wayne Roberts said, “(the) NDP is wandering from its commitment to equity, environment and positive government.”
Unfortunately, such shortsighted, expedient policies in election platforms are all too common in today’s cynical sound-bite-driven political world.  Make no mistake, though, it’s dangerously irresponsible for the NDP to threaten taking down the government with such misguided policy.

Bottom line — the NDP is asking Ontario to borrow $350 million dollars or to cut an additional $350 million in services annually to encourage pollution.  

It’s definitely a job creation strategy, but for Alberta natural gas producers, not Ontario businesses. Energy efficiency is a key job creator in a province with so few fossil fuel resources.  What’s more, the rich generally heat bigger homes, so this is largely a tax windfall for the wealthy. Subsidizing consumption eventually results in price increases.

Why then would the NDP offer tax breaks for wealthy polluters while imposing full taxes on energy conservation that creates homegrown jobs? Why would they so underestimate the ability of Ontario voters to see what’s really at stake?

We think Ontarians want to reward those who conserve energy, not those who over-consume.  That’s why the GPO focuses on policies that create jobs by helping people save money by saving energy — like retrofitting homes with energy efficient heating and cooling systems. If the NDP really wanted to help lower-income people, they’d support our call for income-targeted energy rebates and more energy efficiency programs.

It’s not too late to put our financial and environmental future ahead of cynical politics.  Environmentally concerned, fiscally responsible voters should demand that Horwath’s NDP rethink such short-sighted budget demands and encourage the Liberal government to reject them.  

Here’s how you can help:

Send Premier Dalton McGuinty, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath an email or twitter message asking them not to subsidize wealthy polluters.

Hon. Dalton McGuinty
Email: dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Twitter: @Dalton_McGuinty

Hon. Dwight Duncan
Email: dduncan.mpp@liberal.ola.org
Twitter: @DwightDuncan

Andrea Horwath
Email: ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca
Twitter: @andreahorwath