Atlantic Canadians scoff at $1 billion climate program for phasing out oil furnaces

Only 80 Maritime households have applied to phase out their oil furnaces as part of a billion-dollar carbon tax break for Atlantic Canada. Some 286,000 residents still use home heating oil, by official estimate.

Atlantic Canadians scoff at $1 billion climate program for phasing out oil furnaces
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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Only 80 Canadian households have applied to phase out their oil furnaces as part of a billion-dollar carbon tax break for Atlantic Canada. Some 286,000 residents use home heating oil, by official estimate.

According to an Inquiry Of Ministry, successful applicants receive $15,000 in taxpayer subsidies to replace their oil furnace with an electric cold climate heat pump. They will “save thousands of dollars annually on heating bills and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” it reads.

Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs, who requested the figures, asked, “How many applications for funding through the Oil To Heat Pump Affordability Program have been received?”

The Trudeau Liberals introduced the grant last February 28. Of 1,241 applicants, 361 were denied, and only 80 oil furnaces have been replaced, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau implemented the carbon tax reprieve on heating oil after in-house polling by the Privy Council identified widespread opposition to the tax in Atlantic Canada, where the Liberals hold 24 seats. 

“Asked whether they believed the implementation of a price on carbon would encourage Canadians to reduce their emissions, none expected it would,” said a researchers’ report Continuous Qualitative Data Collection Of Canadians’ Views.

“There are one million Canadian households that still use heating oil in this country and 286,000 of them are in Atlantic Canada but they are spread all across this country,” said Liberal MP Kody Blois, chair of the Atlantic Liberal caucus.

“The evidence would suggest the majority of people who still use heating oil are people who are lower income and who do not have the ability to transition off that fuel source,” he added.

Ottawa last November 10 paused the 17¢ per litre carbon tax on home heating oil until the 2025 federal election. A subsequent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report Pausing The Fuel Charge On Heating Oil estimates total costs at $1.08 billion.

“It is not slogans, it is solutions,” Blois told the Commons February 1. “That is what we are focused on. That is good for the environment.”

“When I went [to] my riding this past summer I talked to seniors,” he continued. “They would tell me this is a great program.” 

The MP lauded the carbon tax break for helping people “utilize the program.”

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