COLUMN: Ghastly Liberal eco-scheme will hose taxpayers

An Ontario government cabinet document titled the “Climate Change Action Plan” was leaked this week. Reported first by The Globe and Mail; this newest scheme the Liberals plan to unleash is the most radical plan to date, and will affect Ontarian’s wallets the most. At a cost of $7 billion for the next four years, it is a pipe dream no one can afford.

The plan calls for lowering Ontario’s “carbon footprint” by introducing many changes to how we drive, what we drive, and how we choose to heat our homes. The only concept in this plan that sounds good, is lowering the amount of carbon in gasoline and other liquid fuels. The rest of the government’s scheme is a recipe for increased taxation and higher energy bills.

The government’s plan calls for retrofitting existing government buildings to be more energy efficient. Before doing that, maybe bureaucrats should learn to turn off a light or two. Drive past any closed government office and you’ll see many lit up like disco balls at all hours of the night.

Another part of the plan is to increase service on the GO Transit regional network. That is great if you live in the Toronto-region. Too bad for the rest of us who don’t and still have to pay for it.

One goal of the plan is to start implementing electric school buses. Here there is the opportunity to do something good. Equip the buses with pedals at the kids seats so they can exercise and charge the bus. As gym class is only offered two-to-three days a week in school, this could help get more kids exercising.

More electric cars, and more incentives for drivers to buy electric cars, are part of the plan. The goal is to increase the number of electric cars sold in Ontario to five per cent per year by 2020 and 12 per cent per year by 2025. Those incentives will cost taxpayers $14,000 per vehicle to start.

Where the plan falls off the rails [pun-intended] is in our homes. Changes to the building code will be made to mandate the use of electric heat, or ground-source/geothermal heat. This is to reduce and in the end, stop the use of natural gas as a heat source. Programs will be introduced to subsidize retrofitting existing homes and buildings to stop using natural gas.

The reports claim that this is for the lowering of our carbon footprint, hits all the eco-babble talking points. That said, it is not the real reason the Liberals want to move people off natural gas heating and using more electricity.

Ontario’s electricity generating capacity has been increasing at an incremental rate for the past decade. The province has right now a generating capacity of 35,591 megawatts. Consumption of that power has been declining. Given the high price of electricity and Ontario’s inability to compete in the global market for medium and heavy industry. Combined with residential users of electricity conserving more and consuming less. It shows the province has a glut when it comes to electricity.

Where market forces should dictate that if you have too much supply and not enough demand, the price goes down, the Liberals think otherwise. Instead of rewarding consumers for doing their part for the environment, the Liberals will use the poisoned carrot and blunt stick. By changing the building code to make electric heat or ground-sourced/geothermal heat mandatory for new construction, and retrofitting more homes to use electric heat, demand goes up. Ontario just happens to have an excess of electricity to meet that increased demand. That is the real goal of this climate change scheme.

How does the government pay for all these incentives and tax breaks and retrofit programs? Cap-and-trade carbon tax schemes which translate into higher prices for the consumer for one. When that money tree has been plucked clean, it will come from your wallet.  Even higher electricity rates, and any of the other Liberal “revenue tools” available to them. There are many ways this government can empty your wallet.

The government cannot force you to convert your house to electric heat, or make you drive an electric car. This plan does not give them the power to do so. It does give them the tools to make you pay for it, whether you want to or not. It is a bad plan that serves higher prices and higher taxes in a wrapper of climate change; all to make you feel good when you get hosed. Another scheme brought to you by Ontario’s government.