Canadian Gov to introduce Energy Subsidies

In the face of rising home heating and energy costs, the Federal government today announced that they will introduce new subsidies and programs aimed at offsetting rising energy costs for low-income home owners and funding mass transportation programs and home renovation rebates.

From the CBC:

The federal Cabinet Tuesday approved a $2.4 billion five-year plan … Legislation to enable the program could be introduced later this week. …. the program will provide payments directly to low-income families. The cheques will go to recipients of the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the National Child Benefit Tax Supplement. [That’s me! Woo!]

part of the relief package is a one-year program aimed at low-income families and low-income seniors that could help between one million and three million Canadians…. Families with children and senior couples would get $250 and single seniors $125.

New and upgraded municipal transit infrastructure will consume some $800 million of the program over two years, and rebates to retrofit homes are expected to cost between $150 million and $275 million.

Goodale said improving energy conservation is the best way to control energy costs in the long run.

Indeed it is Ralph.

On the surface, this is a fine stop gap. It’ll help those people who have the worst time paying the heating bills.. but in the long run it won’t really help solve the problem. I’ll be interested to see if anything meaningful actually comes out of the funding for “upgraded municipal transit infrastructure”. That could be anything from a couple new buses for each major city or an upgrade of all the bus stops in Canada.

None of it, except the retrofit subsidies address the main problem, which is consumptiion and reliance on oil. Alot more than 800 million will be needed to bring mass transport up to a level that actually allows it to replace peoples personal driving habits. Heck, that doesn’t even cover the costs of the new Airport-Vancouver (RAV) skytrain service being built in Vancouver for the Olympics.

As I said before, Canada needs a comprehensive plan that takes the country on the path of oil-independance. Like Sweden has done Canadians want a commitment. They want LEADERSHIP.

Too many policies are reactionary, and this is the perfect example. Real change is only brought about by leaders who aren’t afraid to LEAD. I don’t see anyone in Ottawa currently capable of doing that… and that means that we cna only expect more of the same… and a continued reliance on an ever-more-expensive commodity.

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