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Conservative Government cancells EnerGuide Program

coleridge

TRIBE Member
Wow, this has made me really angry this morning.



Tories pull plug on popular EnerGuide
Announce phase out of home reno grants
Funding for plan axed in May 2 budget
May 16, 2006. 01:00 AM
LES WHITTINGTON
STAFF REPORTERS

OTTAWA—Thousands of Canadians hoping for federal grants to help cover the cost of making their homes more energy efficient are in limbo after the Harper government quietly cancelled a popular program.

Funding for the $44-million EnerGuide for Homes was axed in the Conservatives' May 2 budget but official notice that it is being phased out only emerged on a federal government website on the weekend.

Homeowners who took steps before midnight Friday to begin energy-saving renovations under the EnerGuide program will still be in line for grants averaging $737 per household if the retrofit work is completed by next March 31, a federal spokesperson explained yesterday. But getting the money may depend on how many people complete the process by next March and how much money Ottawa sets aside to pay for the grants to homeowners, said Emma Welford, an aide to Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn.

The intention is to deliver grants to every household that qualifies, Welford said. But "of course, all of that is subject to the availability of funding."

Last year, with interest in the program booming along with energy prices, the Liberal government spent $44.3 million on EnerGuide and had planned to increase funding by $200 million this year. But that money was cut in the Conservative budget.

Lunn has asked the Harper government for additional cash to cover homeowner grants during the phase-out period but Welford declined to say how much was requested.

Cancellation of the program, which paid grants to 30,429 homeowners last year, spread shock through the network of hundreds of conservation organizations and companies that has grown up to publicize EnerGuide and provide energy audits and renovations.

"The government's cancellation of these popular, effective programs is very bad news for residential energy efficiency in this country," said Clifford Maynes, executive director of Green Communities Canada, a Peterborough-based group of environmental service organizations.

There are also concerns about the federal Conservatives' decision to scrap a new five-year, $500 million program introduced by the Liberals called EnerGuide for Low Income Households, which would have paid the full cost of renovations to improve energy use for low-income earners.

"Low-income households already live close to the edge, and steep increases in energy prices will push many of them over," said Maynes. He called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reconsider eliminating these initiatives.

Critics of the Conservatives' approach point out that Harper's party voted in support of funding for EnerGuide for Housing in the Commons in November.

As they field questions from upset homeowners and service providers, organizations involved in upgrading homes are wondering why the current federal government, which favours a "Made-in-Canada" approach to tackling global warming, didn't see the appeal of EnerGuide.

"I am baffled by the decision because it seems to be exactly what they say they want," said Mary Jane Patterson, manager of the Residential Energy Efficiency Program in Waterloo. "It's a Canadian program through and through. It's very accountable because of the (energy) evaluations. The grants are based on results" and the project is effective in reducing pollution, she said.

"People are stunned, they're asking, `Who can I write to in the government right now?'" she recounted.

The Conservatives say EnerGuide is being dropped because the cost of the audits was too high. Last year, audits in support of homeowners' energy renovation grants totalled $15.1 million out of the total $44.3 million cost of the program, Natural Resources officials said.

"We are going to ensure that every single Canadian taxpayer gets value for their money," Lunn said yesterday when asked in the Commons to justify the decision.

Contractors who performed the evaluations — which made homeowners eligible for grants covering part of the cost of recommended energy efficiency measures — received a terse email from Ottawa late Thursday announcing the impending end of EnerGuide.

Ottawa's decision may put pressure on the Liberal government in Ontario to step in and fund the EnerGuide project instead of the federal government. Quebec and New Brunswick have agreed to do so, according to federal officials.
 
Cannabis Seed Wedding Bands

man_slut

TRIBE Member
Fuck the conservatives! They want to tear this country apart and make it thier own little selfish free market society.
 

man_slut

TRIBE Member
Here's a story I got from the Star today:

Tories blasted for U.S. ties
Opposition parties seize on issue

Kyoto, lumber deal and passports cited
May 16, 2006. 01:00 AM
SUSAN DELACOURT
OTTAWA BUREAU CHIEF


OTTAWA—Marking 100 days in power today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government finds itself under attack by all opposition parties — on multiple fronts — for getting too close to the United States.

In the Commons yesterday, almost every question thrown at Harper and his ministers was on the theme of excessive pandering to Americans — on the environment, on softwood lumber and the looming passport crackdown at the Canada-U.S. border.

Liberals, New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois appear to have decided that Canada-U.S. relations could prove to be a major vulnerability of the minority Conservative government.

Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, now in Bonn serving as chair of a UN summit on Kyoto, is being accused by all the opposition parties of hitching Canada's plans on global warming to those of the U.S. She has been urged to step down as chair of the summit because the Harper government has declared definitively that Canada will not be able to live up to the Kyoto standards for improving air quality.

Bloc MPs said yesterday this made Canada look ridiculous and Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe wondered why this country was looking to the U.S., not Europe, for leadership on Kyoto.

Liberal MP Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre) said: "Will the Prime Minister admit that he is happy to take his orders on global warming from the White House and he wants the rest of the world to do the same?"

The Bush administration withdrew from Kyoto in 2001, saying the U.S. would instead follow its own plan of voluntary measures and new technology.

Meanwhile, International Trade Minister David Emerson is under fire for acknowledging last weekend that the new softwood deal will require provinces to vet any forestry-policy changes with Washington.


Liberals said in the Commons yesterday that Emerson had negotiated a "made-in-the-U.S.A." deal and New Democrats kept up those attacks. "Now we find out that each time a provincial government wants to make a change in its forestry policies, it will have to ask Washington for a permission slip," said New Democrat MP Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster). Emerson is defending the deal as an "imperfect" method to put an end to the long-running softwood dispute once and for all and "go forward" in Canada-U.S. relations. At a Commons committee yesterday, he acknowledged: "Is it a perfect deal? No."

And talking to reporters, Emerson dismissed the Commons attacks as partisan rhetoric. "I know it's all very well for people, you know, to carp about us being under the thumb of George Bush but it just ain't so."

Opposition critics, however, were saying yesterday premiers are being bolder than Ottawa in standing up to the U.S. Last weekend, Atlantic premiers and New England governors vowed to fight for at least a delay in U.S. plans to require passports at the border as soon as Jan. 1, 2007, for air and sea travel. This contrasted to Harper's posture after meeting Bush this spring, when he said Canada had little option but to go along with the plan and deadline.
 
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