Statement from Green Party of Ontario leader and Guelph candidate Mike Schreiner on the release of the government’s Long Term Energy Plan:
(Queen’s Park): The people of Ontario deserve details on how the Liberal government would deliver conservation programs. Otherwise, the Liberal’s Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) is worth less than the paper it is written on.
Greens are cautiously optimistic that the Liberals have finally followed our lead in proposing a plan to finance energy efficient home retrofits. Since the cheapest and greenest source of energy is the electricity we save, it makes sense to prioritize efficiency and conservation.
But why wait until the spring budget, which may not even pass in a minority legislature? Given the Liberals’ track record on electricity issues, why would anyone trust them to deliver on this promise someday in the future, especially with no details or any answers on how they would do it? Why do the Liberals continue to spend more to subsidize electricity rates than they do on conservation programs?
The Green Party challenges the Liberal government to put forward legislation immediately to help homeowners, businesses and tenants finance energy efficient building retrofits. Ontario needs policies that help people save money by saving energy now, not when it is politically opportunistic for the government. The Green Party is committed to pushing the government to actually put efficiency and conservation first.
Unfortunately, the Liberal’s LTEP fails to follow the GPO’s advice not to waste billions on refurbishing expensive and inflexible nuclear plants. No nuclear project in Ontario’s history, including refurbishments, has come in on budget or on time. Why are the Liberals committing billions to nuclear when lower cost, baseload water power is available from Quebec and would save Ontario $1 billion per year? Ontarians deserve a commitment to seeking clean, lower cost alternatives, not just an openness to looking at water power imports.
Saving electricity is 76 – 94% less expensive than pouring more money into nuclear. A U.S. study estimates that for half the cost of replacing one nuclear plant, we could retrofit 1.6 million homes to save the same amount of energy and create 90 times more jobs.
Finally, the Liberal’s LTEP fails to heed warnings from the Environmental Commissioner that Ontario’s commitment to gas plants will increase carbon pollution. Instead of moving around mega gas plants, the government should invest in local energy to generate local jobs by supporting combined heat and power projects and community scale renewable energy.
The Green Party will continue to push the status quo parties to put your needs and the public interest before self-interested political games. The people of Ontario should expect better.”