Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in Delta, B.C. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (James Smith/North Delta Reporter)

Trudeau promises energy bill cuts, carbon-neutrality while in Lower Mainland

Scheer offers tax credit for green home renovation, and Jagmeet Singh pledged electric buses

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wrapped up his latest campaign tour through the Lower Mainland with a promise to help Canadians transform their homes into more energy efficient ones in efforts to cut emissions.

“It’s expensive to adapt to a changing climate. We are going to help you replace those drafty windows or your old furnace – so you can cut your utility bills and keep our environment healthy,” Trudeau said in Delta on Wednesday morning.

The Liberals unveiled a plan to, if re-elected, help retrofit 1.5 million homes to be more energy efficient, offer interest-free loans up to $40,000 to help pay for retrofits and offer Net Zero Homes Grant up to $5,000 to people who but zero-emissions homes.

ALSO READ: Three party leaders campaign in B.C., Scheer tours Quebec

“Andrew Scheer doesn’t have a real climate plan. He wants to make pollution free again – which would increase our emissions,” said Trudeau. “Denial is not a policy. We can go back to the Harper years, when the Conservatives did nothing about climate change – or fight for a better future. I’m for moving forward.”

Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer pivoted his campaign to the environment while in Jonquiere, Que., announcing a tax credit for homeowners who make energy-saving renovations, following a scathing attack a day earlier by his Liberal opponent, Justin Trudeau.

The 20 per cent refundable tax credit could be worth up to $3,800 annually, he said, as he shot back at Trudeau’s new promise on Tuesday to achieve zero net carbon emissions in Canada by 2050.

Scheer said Trudeau hasn’t met Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030, so there’s no point in taking his plan seriously for 2050. He reiterated the new Conservative plan would give Canada the “best chance” to reach the 2030 targets, but his announcement carried no detailed analysis.

“These are all measures specifically designed to lower Canada’s emissions, but also lower global emissions,” Scheer said. “Canada is not the problem. We can shut down our entire economy here and within a matter of days, the production in China would replace everything that we produce here — all the emissions that we emit here.”

On Tuesday, Trudeau spent much of his day in the Burnaby South riding – currently held by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. There he announced promises to cut corporate taxes in half for companies that produce zero-emission technologies as part of a plan to make Canada carbon-neutral by 2050.

Singh made climate-change promises of his own, including pledging to electrify Canada’s public-transit fleets by the end of the next decade and to construct a coast-to-coast, clean-energy corridor.

The NDP called Trudeau’s climate-change policies hypocritical because of the government’s $4.5-billion purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

Trudeau was at a rally in Surrey Centre Tuesday afternoon where Liberal incumbent Randeep Sarai is campaigning for a second term. The riding was created before the last election largely from the now-dissolved riding of Surrey North, which bounced back and forth between the NDP and Liberals for most of its recent history.

The Liberals can’d afford to lose many seats in B.C. after winning 17 or the 42 ridings in 2015.

Some 1,000 supporters gathered in the parking lot of Surrey’s Aria Banquet Hall to see Trudeau run through his stump speech, applauding as he promised to increase Old Age Security and pension survivor benefits, and falling silent as he warned that a Conservative government would mean “twice the cuts for you and your family.”

Trudeau ended his speech with a plea to his supporters to knock doors.

“So please, go talk to your neighbours. Volunteer with Randeep, with Gordie, with all our great candidates. Drive to the polls. Make phone calls,” said Trudeau, who was mobbed by enthusiastic fans following his appearance.

The third party leader to speak in the Lower Mainland this week, People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier is set to begin his western tour Wednesday morning, first taking part in Surrey’s board of trade speaking series.

– with files from The Canadian Press


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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