NDP prioritizes energy companies over low-income families

For Immediate Release
April 4, 2012

On April 3rd, NDP leader Andrea Horwath introduced the first of their budget proposals, taking HST off of home heating costs.

“The NDP’s proposal to subsidize home heating fuel rather than supporting our most vulnerable children through full funding of the Ontario Child Benefit reflects misguided priorities,” says Green Party of Ontario (GPO) leader Mike Schreiner. “Subsidizing energy consumption increases pollution and benefits big home owners the most —generally the wealthy consume the most energy.”

“This is bad economic, social and environmental policy, driven by political expediency,” adds Schreiner. “The NDP’s proposal is a job creation strategy for Alberta oil and natural gas companies, not Ontario businesses.”

The GPO prefers to support lower-income families, social assistance recipients, and energy conservation ahead of subsidizing energy waste.

With this in mind, the GPO advocates eliminating the misleadingly-named Clean Energy Benefit, which supports the wasteful consumption of electricity, clean or dirty. Canceling it would save $975 million.

Here’s how we’d advise investing those savings, while still balancing the budget:

  • $220 million for an energy rebate program targeted to lower-income families and seniors.
  • $600 million for an energy-efficiency building retrofit program to help homeowners, tenants and small business save money by saving energy.
  • $90 million to fund a full increase in the Ontario Child Benefit.
  • $65 million to avoid freezing social assistance rates.

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

Read the GPO open letter to Premier McGuinty with our proposals for budget amendments.