Tories pledge $300M to boost energy efficiency
Published Sunday, January 21, 2007 11:26PM EST
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 5:34PM EDT
A series of Conservative environmental announcements was capped Sunday with news the government pledges $300 million to help Canadians make their homes more energy efficient.
The program will give homeowners an average grant of $1,000, ranging up to a possible $5,000, said Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn in Toronto on Sunday.
The grants will come in the form of cash, not a tax rebate. The $1,000 grants will help reduce homeowners' energy costs by 30 per cent, he said.
"So not only would they receive the $5,000 to help them in the retro fits -- that's a maximum -- but they'll also go on to receive thousands of dollars in savings in their energy costs year after year."
Lunn also said 800 small businesses will receive help from the so-called Eco-Energy Efficiency Initiative.
Earlier in the week, Lunn promised Ottawa would spend $230 million over four years towards researching clean energy options.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper travelled to B.C. for a $1.5 billion announcement on alternative energies.
After the Sunday announcement, Lunn appeared on CTV's Question Period.
He countered claims that the initiative is nothing more than a repackaging of the EnerGuide program, one of the former Liberal government's programs that was cancelled by the Conservatives.
"It's important to note under the old Liberal program, almost 50 cents of every dollar spent went to doing audits and administration," he said.
"But even worse than that, of those people who had the audits done, only 30 per cent of those actually went on to do renovations. Seventy per cent of the people didn't do anything, and nothing was done for the environment."
By comparison, he said the Conservative program will deliver 90 per cent of every dollar spent, to renovations or retrofits. That will have a direct impact on reducing greenhouse gases, Lunn said.
Lunn said he has been working on the initiatives since early spring.
Environment Commissioner Johanne Gelinas has said the Liberal Energuide program was effective and achieving results.
David McGuinty, the newly minted Liberal environment critic, said the the previous Liberal government had first proposed the policies the Conservatives unveiled this week.
"There's no problem with these announcements except they're one year too late," he told Question Period.
"They are Liberal programs that were first cancelled by the government when they slashed almost $600 million of climate change funding in the last budget."
McGuinty said the recent Conservative announcements don't seem to be part of a comprehensive plan.
"What's concerning here is that we have lost the year, but, secondly, what we're seeing is ministers dispatched, as I like to say, jumping from ice floe to ice floe around the country and announcing these programs, but we don't see how they connect."
While most of the EnerGuide program is back, other parts are missing, like extra help for seniors and low-income Canadians.
The retrofit program will start in April. The government said details about it will have to wait.
Nathan Cullen, the NDP's environment critic, said the announcements appear to be an attempt for the Conservatives to boost their environmental credentials -- fast.
"There's not a lot of substance behind the announcements. A lot of them are played out," Cullen told Question Period.
Cullen said hope does lie in the fact the NDP is playing a key role in helping rewrite the Conservative Clean Air Act.
"We're quite comfortable working with the other parties, the Bloc and the Liberals as well as the government, to actually get something done, because, essentially, we head into another election and we don't want to waste another year," he said.
"There's an opportunity for us in this parliament to do some really decisive things and move us along."
With a report from CTV's David Akin