Ontario climate plan signals stormy future – Postmedia Network Editorial (Brantford Expositor – May 10, 2016)


Premier Kathleen Wynne is preparing to impose another suite of climate-related energy policies on the province. The Climate Change Action Plan promises to be even more expensive and more economically intrusive than the Green Energy Act. Which should give voters cause for alarm.

The public details of the plan that have emerged so far outline a policy thrust that sounds more like a war on personal mobility and the automotive industry than an environmental blueprint. It has already proved so concerning to the auto industry that the government has been forced to reassure the sector it means it no harm.

For instance, draft plans of the policy say Ontario intends to require that 80% of the province either walk, take transit or bike to work by 2050. How are they going to do that without imposing draconian new rules on where companies choose to invest and where people live? It’s hard to imagine that rule applying in Ontario counties where bus service is limited.

Another key aim of the policy is ensuring that Ontario drivers purchase 1.7 million electric and hybrid cars by 2024. Given that slightly more than 6,000 such vehicles were sold in the province last year, increasing the take-up rate by a factor 242 in only eight years seems beyond optimistic.

Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray says improved incentives will help convince consumers switch to electric propulsion. Ontario already has one of the richest incentive programs in the world for electric vehicles — up to $14,000 per car — so it’s difficult to imagine how much more taxpayers will be tapped to make this happen. And how will the government justify taxing lower-income people more to ensure richer consumers can buy the latest techno-gadget?

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