Ontario Construction News staff writer
The federal government has announced it will spend $41 million on energy retrofits in Ontario schools, despite the province’s resistance to the Liberal government’s carbon tax and climate change plans.
Ontario – one of the most vocal critics of the cabon tax under Conservative premier Doug Ford’s leadership – will receive the bulk of the $60 million allocation, with smaller contributions to be sent for schools in New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
Ottawa has imposed a carbon tax on Ontario and the other three provinces. While 90 per cent of the tax has been rebated to consumers, the funds for the energy-saving renovations come from the remaining 10 per cent.
At a news conference Tuesday, Catherine McKenna, the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change took aim at Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford, linking the Ford government’s inaction on climate change to the party’s unpopular budget cuts.
“Conservatives don’t take the science behind climate change seriously,” McKenna told reporters. “And under Premier Ford, we’ve seen cuts to the environment, cuts to health, cuts to education.”
She mentioned the Ford government’s 2018 cancellation of a $100-million school repairs fund. The grant was a casualty of the Progressive Conservative government’s decision to scrap the provincial Liberals’ cap-and-trade system.
“There was already a project in existence. Sadly, it was cut by Premier Ford when he came in,” McKenna said. “This not a new initiative.”
Earlier in June, McKenna also criticized the Ontario premier for cutting the 50 Million Tree program, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. McKenna announced $15 million over four years to rescue the program, which has planted more than 27 million trees across the province since 2008 and was working toward 50 million new trees by 2025.