Canada has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to its environmental commitment.
And while there are now more Canadians working in ‘green’ jobs than oil & gas, Ontario’s recently elected Progressive Conservative government is doing its best to rewind the province’s renewable energy commitments.
Last week, it was announced that Ontario will cancel 758 renewable-energy contracts in an effort to save provincial ratepayers $790 million, according to Energy Minister Greg Rickford.
“For 15 years, Ontario families and businesses have been forced to pay inflated hydro prices so the government could spend on unnecessary and expensive energy schemes,” Rickford said. “Those days are over.”
Industry officials, meanwhile, are casting doubt over the Energy Minister’s claims. Many believe cancelling these contracts will not reduce electricity bills and will only harm small businesses – something very much against the the Doug Ford government’s agenda. According to WPD Canada, the company spearheading Ontario’s green energy commitment, the cancellations could cost the province more than $100 million.
“This is not about big business,” said John Gorman, President of the Canadian Solar Industries Association. “This is about small rooftop projects that are owned by farmers and school boards and municipalities and First Nations groups. The folks that will be hurt are the installers and contractors and the engineers: the local guys, the little guys who have built up experience in building solar over the last few years.”
NDP Energy critic Peter Tabuns doubles down on the criticism. “Mr. Ford’s war on science and the environment may be pleasing his friends in back rooms and fulfilling promises he made to social conservatives that supported his election bid,” he said in a statement. “But for the rest of us, it’s going to means lost jobs, billions of dollars wasted, and tangible environmental damage.”
Ah, who would have Ford would storm into office with short-sighted, reactionary button-pushing.