Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bye bye Energuide

I've been resisting the urge to comment on the Prime Minister's purging of environmental programs. I think it's safe to say that no federal department has been hit by cuts so hard as Environment. But you know what, fine. If the new PM wants to reevaluate some of these programs and determine how effective they are, maybe that's not a bad idea. After all, it wasn't without precedent for the Liberals to be spending money hand over fist on questionable things. And to be giving money to questionable agencies.

But cutting EnerGuide for Low Income Houses program is just baffling to me. A program designed to help low income people retrofit their houses. Not just to curb greenhouse gas emissions, but also to make the homes more efficient so that the owners won't spend so much on heating their homes.

As a caveat, I've interviewed Bruce Pearce several times. He's a heck of a nice guy and very passionately committed to this idea. His theory is why would you give someone a $200 home heating fuel rebate every year when for a few hundred dollars more, you can help them fix their homes, thereby allowing them to save thousands over many years.

It always made a heck of a lot of sense to me, but perhaps I'm missing something. I recall asking Finance Minister Loyola Sullivan why they didn't do something like what Pearce was suggesting rather than doing rebates. He just shrugged it off and said they were examining it. That was a couple of years ago, so I'm guessing they didn't like the idea.

I'm not naive...I know giving people a nice check is a way to win votes and make people. I'm also sure there is an element out there who believes the government should just give them tax breaks or whatever and let people make up their own mind on whether or not they want to make energy saving home renovations.

But this was a good program. It would have helped a lot of people struggling to pay the bills. And it would have been good for the environment. So it's baffling to me why you would get rid of this program.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

1 comment:

Mireille Sampson said...

The new conservative party is not interested in aiding the environment nor poor people. I'm not sure why this is a surprise. The money saved by such programs is "long money" and most politicians are in this for the short-term, a minority conservative gov't even more short-term. Lower-income people tend not to vote and gov'ts of most stripes tend to ignore them...I'm unsure of which is the cause and which the effect (bit of both likely).