Home retrofit program offered again by Tories
Owners of drafty homes and energy auditors will be happy with this year's federal budget, as the ecoENERGY Retrofit -Homes Program will get a $400-million injection and have its life extended by one year.
From an environmental perspective, that was the main consumer goody but the budget document released Tuesday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was sprinkled with plenty of other green treats, if little in the way of a green strategy.
"From a climate change perspective, it's a continuation of the trajectory we've been on," said Tim Weis, director of climate change policy at the Pembina Institute.
"Europe, China and the United States are encouraging more investment into a green economy. And Canada is moving in the opposite direction," he added.
But support for other aspects of the Clean Air Agenda are being continued, including $252 million for regulatory activities that deal with climate change and air quality, as well as nearly $60 million to help Canadians adapt to a changing climate.
The government did deliver on some of what it was promising in the lead up to budget day. One of those programs was their popular and successful Chemicals Management Plan, which will have its life extended by two years and get nearly $200 million more. The plan identifies and then manages the risk of harmful chemicals, sometimes by banning them from use.
In a presentation to the Commons environment committee earlier this month, Environment Minister Peter Kent hinted at further funding for this and other programs like the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan.
The Species At Risk Management Program for endangered species received a 17 per cent boost in funding in the budget, to nearly $27 million for 2011-12.
Another announcement of note was the elimination of some fossil fuel subsidies, a measure that will save the government $15 million this year and $30 million next year.
But that wasn't enough to satisfy some environmental groups.
"If they were really eliminating the subsidies, they would cut $1.4 billion," argued Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre.
Guilbeault gets that number from an International Institute for Sustainable Development study that found the government subsidizes oil companies through tax breaks to the tune of $1.4-billion yearly.