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December 2, 2010: A Plan for Affordability and Sustainability.

A Plan for Affordability and Sustainability.
By Paul Dewar, MP, Ottawa Centre.

Home heating is not a luxury in  Ottawa. I have heard from constituents  that they just can’t afford  to keep their homes warm this  winter. Low income families and  seniors, in particular, are finding  it harder to make ends meet.
This year, the cost of home  heating has increased by 30% in  Ottawa. The increase was partially  fueled by the HST, which  raised sales taxes on home heating  from 5% to 13%. This is a  far cry from Stephen Harper’s  promise of affordability to working  families.
At the same time, we are trying  to reduce our energy use. We  recognize that consumption as  usual is not sustainable, neither  financially nor environmentally.  However, retrofitting energy-inefficient  homes is costly and the  government has cancelled programs  that would assist  Canadians with the financial  costs of green retrofits.
While you have to pay the  price for the government’s poor  tax policies, the biggest polluters  in this country, those in the oil  and gas sector, receive more  than $2 billion per year infinancial  subsidies.
It’s time for fairness and practical  steps to make your life  more affordable. That’s why  New Democrats are proposing  the following steps to reduce the  cost of home heating and invest  in green retrofits:
1. Drop the 5% federal sales tax  on your home heating now.
2. Re-introduce the EcoEnergy  retrofit program – so you can  make your home more energy  efficient and fight climate  change. And,
3. End subsidies to the big polluters.
By removing the federal portion  of the HST from your home heating,  you can immediately feel the  relief in the cost of home heating.

The introduction of the  EcoEnergy retrofit program  would allow you to make your  home energy efficient and fight  climate change. Before Stephen  Harper shut down the EcoEnergy
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Dewar.
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program, the program helped to retrofit 500,000 Canadian  homes and save an estimated 3 tonnes of green house gas  emissions (GHGs) per home. That amounts to 1,500,000  tonnes of GHGs a year after four years of retrofits.
The program cost $745 million over those four years  and is estimated to have leveraged an additional $4 billion  in retrofit investment by private individuals. The  Department of Natural Resources Canada says the average  program claimant cut their home energy bill by  20%, a permanent saving for the family budget.
The EcoEnergy program was also vital for creating  local green jobs in the construction, evaluation and  maintenance fields.
The costs associated with our plan would be covered by  the cancelation of subsidies to the biggest polluters. After  all, we made a commitment to the world at the Copenhagen  conference on climate change to cancel those subsidies.
These three practical steps would advance affordability,  sustainability and fairness in our economy. We  have invited the government to work with us in implementing  these ideas. I look forward to your feedback  and if you wish to stay updated on our campaign, please  visit www.heatyourhome.ca

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