QUEEN’S PARK — Doug Ford’s announcement of a gas tax cut is yet another back-of-the-napkin policy idea that fails to pass the sniff test.
“The Liberals played this game with the UnFair Hydro Plan to artificially lower energy bills before an election. Now Ford is jumping on the bandwagon, hoping to buy people off at the pumps while he guts public services and takes our economy backwards,” said Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner.
By closing his eyes to the overwhelming evidence that carbon pricing works, Ford is thumbing his nose at the basic principles of economics. You put a higher price on pollution, and you incentivize the good behaviour through the use of low carbon goods and services.
“Globally, cleantech is a $6 trillion industry. If Ontario were to capture even 1% of this, it would be the largest contributor to our GDP. Yesterday, after announcing the gas tax axe, Ford toured a cleantech facility in Mississauga. Does he realize that he is a walking contradiction?” said Schreiner.
“Ford’s wish to cancel all cleantech and energy efficiency programs would be like someone in the 1920s vowing to stick with horse-and-buggy transportation over the automobile. I refuse to let Doug perpetuate the myth that the economy and the environment are at odds,” said Schreiner. “The jobs of the 21st century are the clean jobs of the new economy that are already employing close to 300,000 Canadians at an average salary of $92,000 per year,” he added.
The estimated loss of over $1 billion dollars in gas tax revenues comes on the heels of Ford’s announcements of massive corporate and income tax cuts, hydro subsidies and an end to cap-and-trade revenues that put Ontario in the red to the tune of over $8 billion dollars.
Ford refuses to explain how he’ll pay for any of these promises.” This is irresponsible. If you are going to gut public services and starve the government of revenues, at least have the decency to admit it.” said Schreiner
Instead of ignoring scientific evidence and the growing business consensus, Greens have a fully costed plan to leap into the future and embrace the new economy:
- Redirect the $3.1 billion per year in existing business support programs to target cleantech innovation, advanced manufacturing and bio-products.
- Create a $4.18 billion Green Building and Business Program to provide grants and interest-free loans to help homeowners, renters and businesses invest in energy efficiency and conservation.
- Put a stop to government subsidies of businesses that pollute and worsen climate change
- Cancel the UnFair Hydro Plan and put Ontario on a path to 100% renewable energy by purchasing low-cost water power from Quebec at one-third the price of nuclear.