QUEEN’S PARK — The Leader of the Green Party of Ontario is urging the PC government to adopt a climate-smart budget and dedicate real funding to make the transition to a low-carbon economy.
“The Premier needs to pull his head out of the sand and stop wasting tax dollars to sabotage climate solutions. I’m concerned this budget will double down on fossil-fuel intensive activities, worsening the climate crisis and chasing away jobs and investment in the $26 trillion clean economy,” said Schreiner.
The Green leader wants the province to change the criteria for business support programs, redirecting $3.1 billion in annual funding away from polluting activities and towards cleantech innovation, advanced manufacturing and bio-products.
“It’s essential we stop subsidizing incentives to pollute with our public dollars. It’s time to shift loans and grants to the businesses of the low-carbon future. ” said Schreiner.
On transportation, the province’s largest source of GHG pollution, Schreiner wants the province to make headway on converting the GO train system from diesel to electric, scale up EV infrastructure across the province, and dedicate 5% of transportation budget for walking, cycling and accessibility infrastructure.
“Electrifying public transit and personal transportation will make the biggest difference in reducing pollution. But it requires the Premier to drop his obsession with pump prices and accept that the future of transit is electric,” said Schreiner.
Schreiner wants the province to bring back EV rebates and install charging infrastructure along provincial highways to help people make the shift to EVs, which can be operated at one-fifth the cost of gas-guzzling vehicles.
Schreiner is also calling for an energy retrofit fund to upgrade buildings, whose emissions continue to rise and account for 24% of Ontario’s carbon footprint.
“Across Canada, we can create some 118,000 jobs through energy efficiency. This can offset job losses, while at the same time helping people and businesses to save money by saving energy,” said Schreiner.
“Fiscal and environmental sustainability go hand-in-hand. I hope the Premier can give up his grudge with low-carbon solutions and put Ontario on a path to long-term prosperity.”
Summary of recommendations
Redirect $3.1 billion in annual business support programs to the cleantech sector
Create a multi-billion fund for building upgrades (financed by cancelling the $13-billion Darlington nuclear rebuild)
Electrify regional transit and support municipalities to electrify local transit systems
Scale up EV charging infrastructure across Ontario, with a focus on highways
Re-introduce an EV rebate program for cars priced under $50,000
Dedicate 5% of Ministry of Transportation funding to cycling, walking and accessibility infrastructure