GIVE NORTHERNERS A BREAK ON HEAT BILLS: NDP

Jack Layton brings campaign to reduce home heating costs to Elliot Lake

ELLIOT LAKE - Stephen Harper has broken his promise to make life more affordable for Canadian families, according to New Democrat Leader Jack Layton. Layton was in Elliot Lake as part of his Heat Your Home Tax Free tour.

Layton said that “people in Northern Ontario and across Canada have been hit hard by rising heating costs this winter. Heating your home in Canada is not a luxury. Stephen Harper must do the right thing – bring back the ecoENERGY Retrofit Program, and take the federal sales tax off home heating.”

Layton was joined by New Democrat MP Carol Hughes (Algoma–Manitoulin–Kapuskasing), Elliot Lake Anti-Poverty Coalition President Irene Breckon, business owner Craig Timmermans, and Elliot Lake residents Mike Hymass and John Benwell who are having trouble keeping up with basic costs under Harper’s HST.

“I just can’t see how this government thinks it’s OK to dole out billions in corporate tax giveaways to the banks and billion dollar subsidies to the tar sands, but they can’t give middle-class Canadians a break on their skyrocketing heat bills,” said Hughes.

“Adding another 8 per cent to household heating has made it harder for individuals to cover the most basic costs of keeping a household running” said Breckon.

“I retrofitted my home and businesses and now the HST is cutting into my bottom line,” added Timmermans. “I am hearing this from other business people who are seeing higher heating bills and operational costs from the added tax.”

Since the Conservatives imposed the HST on Ontarians, the cost of many everyday essentials – like home heat – has risen 8 per cent. Meanwhile, the Harper government also axed the ecoENERGY Retrofit Program last March. The program had helped thousands of people retrofit their homes, cutting their average home energy bill by 20 per cent.

“New Democrats understand many Canadians are still reeling from the recession. They deserve practical measures that help make life more affordable. Removing the federal tax off home heating, alongside a revamped ecoEnergy retrofit program, would mean lower heating bills for Canadians while cutting our greenhouse gas emissions,” concluded Layton. "That's what real Canadian leadership looks like."