‘Green’ issues finally being heard

It often is said that some folks learn much more slowly than others. That certainly appears to be the case with the Conservative government.
For more than nine months, I have been writing letters and articles, presenting petitions, and speaking in the House of Commons and across the riding about the challenges we are facing with climate change.
Finally, it seems that the “light bulb has gone on” for the Harper Conservatives and they are starting to hear the warning bells that have been ringing for such a long time.
This drastic change of direction was most clearly shown by the recent shuffle of the environment minister’s duties to John Baird. During the press conference that followed, Prime Minister Harper indicated he has heard from Canadians that more must be done to deal with climate change.
Thank goodness he finally has started to listen.
In the past week, the government has announced the return of incentives for renewable power production—incentive programs they had suspended when they first came into office last year.
The ecoEnergy Renewable Power Initiative provides an investment of $1.48 billion over 10 years to boost Canada’s supply of clean electricity from renewable sources like wind, biomass, small hydro, and ocean energy.
Hundreds of my constituents signed petitions and sent letters calling on the government to reinstate the EnerGuide program that was cancelled last spring.
With your help, my colleagues and I have sent a clear message to the government that this program must be revived.
I’m pleased to report our efforts were successful and the government has announced the ecoEnergy Efficiency Initiative, which will provide incentives for retrofitting existing houses to increase energy efficiency.
Regretfully, in re-packaging this program, some valuable features have been lost. For instance, Ottawa no longer will pay for the final energy audit to ensure measurable results.
I’m concerned this change will be most felt by low-income Canadians who cannot afford to pay for the audit on their own.
The Conservative program also is far less generous, with only $220 million of the former $900 million provided for these improvements.
Though disappointed in some of the program changes, I am very pleased my constituents once again will have the opportunity to receive financial assistance in their efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
I thank each person who helped in my activities to pressure the government on this vitally important issue.
I will continue my efforts to hold the government to account on the many other program cancellations that are hurting our citizens and communities, and I ask for your ongoing support and assistance in these endeavours.

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