Homeowners, local businesses, environment – all losers under this Conservative government

Ted Hsu
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Picture of Ted HsuPublished first in EMC and Kingston This Week, February 2012

The Conservative government has once again brought the Eco-
ENERGY Retrofit program to a sudden halt. This popular program —
which offered homeowners grants of up to $5,000 to make their homes more
energy-efficient — helped local businesses, helped homeowners reduce their
future energy costs, and helped the environment.


Two months ahead of schedule, the government quietly announced
the end of new registrations for the program. It pulled the same stunt two
years ago, closing the program without warning.
Last spring the Conservatives re-started Eco-ENERGY Retrofit for
one year. In June, on the floor of the House, I asked them to make a five-
year commitment to the program, saying that small businesses cannot
operate on such an erratic basis.


These abrupt policy changes have hurt Kingston and the Islands. The
retrofitting provided work for many energy auditors, sellers and installers of
the energy-efficiency products.

A local not-for-profit housing organization bought an old house and
had started energy-saving renovations, scheduled for completion by March
31, the government’s original deadline for the program. Now the
organization must scale back on insulation and window upgrades. The
meager funds for supporting families that live there will literally go out the
window in the form of wasted energy.

The Conservative government’s spasmodic approach to Eco-
ENERGY Retrofit is another display of its contempt for the environment.
Last year it cut hundreds of jobs at Environment Canada, and then reneged
on our commitment to the Kyoto accord.

Like many Canadians, I am saddened by a government that finds
money for unnecessary prisons and for 30 additional seats in Parliament that
we don’t need, but can’t find the value in helping families save on energy
costs, supporting local businesses and slowing the degradation of our