NDP and taxes on home heating

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Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

ElizaQ wrote:

Boom Boom if you don't mind me asking what's the going rate for a cord of wood in your area?

 

I have no idea. I buy wood by the komatick load for $25 - $30 a load - pulled by skidoo.  My guess is that's slightly more than half a cord of wood.

I have enough firewood stored for the next two winters plus this one if we continue to get unusually warm winter weather.

ETA: once the 'mud room' is built, and the wood stove installed, I'll save the furnace for when the temps go to -20C or below.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

A friend of mine here on the coast had a home that was so heavily insulated that just one log burning in a small wood stove would heat the entire house. Takes my wood burning furnace about two hours to get my house as warm as his. (he's in BC now)

Fidel

this_guy wrote:
To me lowering taxes is not progressive, but the taxes have to be levied in appropriate ways.  Although a lot of lower income people smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol in quantities above the national average, most people would not advocate lowering taxes on these during difficult economic times.

Canadian governments are not overly generous with the poor here compared to other rich countries. If one looks at the amount spent on social programs as a percentage of GDP, there are other G8s and Nordic countries spending larger percentages of GDP on social programs.

And as a percentage of GDP, overall federal tax revenues are not as high in Canada compared to a number of other rich and economically competitive nations. I don't believe the poor in Canada are to blame for either high taxes or excessive social spending. Social spending may be higher since 2008 but only because the "new" liberal capitalism is a very flawed ideology. And I think we have to consider that all of Canada's governments have failed to moderninze some number of Canada's old world energy intensive sectors of the economy.

And too many Canadians live in substandard housing. Slumlords don't necessarily care that their drafty, leaky apartments, roach motels and rabbit warrens require more fuel and hydro to heat and electrify than necessary. They don't care whether their tenants on fixed and low incomes can afford to pay the utility bills or not.

And then on top of that we have energy companies who really don't mind if the slumlords refuse to reinsulate and install vapor barrier, caulk old wooden window and door frames, or replace the substandard items in their over-priced shitholes. Because the energy companies will never want to sell less energy and fossil fuel. And there are millions of drafty, leaky, substandard apartments and old buildings in general in Ontario alone.

Capitalists rule of thumb is always to invest the least amount of money and maximize profit. And so if markets provide no incentive to save or conserve on fossil fuels and electricity, and the government is reluctant to step in and do their jobs, then the poor and most everyone else, and the environment, too, are at the mercy of profiteering business people.

Heat and lights are necessary for all Canadians whereas failed neoliberal ideology is not.

Roscoe

Hmmm. One of Canada's largest, if not the largest slumlords is.....the federal government. over 60,000 units of social and low income housing owned by the feds is substandard and needs major work, if not outright replacement.

While municipal entities do have the power to force slumlords into meeting fire and building code standards, they do not seem to put much effort into these flophouses. One excuse is that if the codes are too rigorously enforced, the buildings will simply be torn down, putting the tenants out of their homes.

George Victor

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  • Fidel

    And Canada isn't even so generous in that regard since the feds scrapped Canada's national housing strategy in the 1990s. Duncan Cameron reported here that the City of New York has more social housing units for 8 million people than Canada has for 33 million. Thel levels of homelessness in Canada are a national disgrace. Markets simply do not provide affordable housing, and there is a real need for affordable housing in Canada. We have all the raw materials and energy to make homelessness disappear, and yet we're making astronomical prices for our own lumber and veneer. And the prices only go up here whenever the US plunge protection team decides that they should work to artificially inflate housing prices in that country. And watch the price of lumber here skyrocket whenever there is destruction by hurricanes, tornadoes etc in the NAFTA master nation dictating "free market" rules.

    this_guy

    Fidel wrote:

    Canadian governments are not overly generous with the poor here compared to other rich countries. If one looks at the amount spent on social programs as a percentage of GDP, there are other G8s and Nordic countries spending larger percentages of GDP on social programs. And as a percentage of GDP, overall federal tax revenues are not as high in Canada compared to a number of other rich and economically competitive nations.

    I agree, I am the one who is saying that the tax on home heating is a good thing that should stay. I am not asking for lower taxes. Tax revenues are what the country runs on.

    Fidel wrote:

    I don't believe the poor in Canada are to blame for either high taxes or excessive social spending.

    Who was blaming them?

    Fidel wrote:

    Heat and lights are necessary for all Canadians whereas failed neoliberal ideology is not.

    This is a statement where I disagree in a few ways.  First of all, the facts are clear that Canadians consume more energy per capita than citizens of nearly any country in the world (the exceptions mainly being the US and Australia). Heat and lights are obviously necessary, but not in the wasteful quantities of the average Canadian.  I am not sure why anyone would defend the use of non-renewable resources for the wasteful lifestyle of the average Canadians.  Secondly, the problem with the NDP tax cut on home heating is that it is not at all targeted at the poor, it is just an accross-the-board tax cut. Every tax cut is trumpeted as something to help the poor (either directly or by trickling down), but the reality is that this is really just spin. Retaining a small tax on home heating is a good use of a market mechanism to reduce excess consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Is that 'neoliberal'?  Like a carbon tax, the small tax now there is simply consistent with the "polluter pays principle".  If you disagree with that principle, then please let me know who should pay, if not the polluter?

    I am frankly surprised by the resistance here.  The NDP is adopting a "Tea Party-like" populist stance calling for lower taxes and for some reason, some people here are not only buying it, but defending it too.

    Fidel

    this_guy wrote:

    Fidel wrote:

    Canadian governments are not overly generous with the poor here compared to other rich countries. If one looks at the amount spent on social programs as a percentage of GDP, there are other G8s and Nordic countries spending larger percentages of GDP on social programs. And as a percentage of GDP, overall federal tax revenues are not as high in Canada compared to a number of other rich and economically competitive nations.

    I agree, I am the one who is saying that the tax on home heating is a good thing that should stay. I am not asking for lower taxes. Tax revenues are what the country runs on.

    We'll have to agree to disagree then. Because neither the NDP nor I believe that low income Canadians should have to choose between electricity, being warm in winter, and putting food on the table. I think Canadians have a right to live with dignity and to have a roof over their heads and a right to food. Conservatives and some on the centre-right do not believe in guaranteeing these same basic human rights recognized by a majority of rich countries.

    There are many other ways of raising overall federal tax revenues without shifting taxation on to labour and onto the backs of the poor just as the right maintains that the rich and corporations should not carry all of the burden of taxation which they have not done so in North America for a long time anyway.

     

     

    this_guy wrote:
    Fidel wrote:

    Heat and lights are necessary for all Canadians whereas failed neoliberal ideology is not.

    This is a statement where I disagree in a few ways.  First of all, the facts are clear that Canadians consume more energy per capita than citizens of nearly any country in the world (the exceptions mainly being the US and Australia). Heat and lights are obviously necessary, but not in the wasteful quantities of the average Canadian.

    We have to remember that it was a successive conservative governments in provinces like Ontario that encouraged people to use as much electricity as they could beginning after the turn of the last century. Hydro-electric power was plentiful in Canada's largest industrialised province throughout much of the last century as electrical grids expanded from urban centres to rural areas. And it was true then that electrical power was plentiful. The more people who hooked up to the system, the cheaper the rates would be for everyone. But now it's different. Ontario has become a good example of how not to design an industrialised economy. And everyone wants central a/c in all new homes as if they were living in places like Florida where temperatures really do require a/c. The Liberals and conservatives before them in Toronto ignored environmentalists and the NDP calling for energy conservation and efficiency to stave off the need for another Darlington nuclear megafiasco. And we've paid for their expensive nuclear mistakes and bad central planning or the lack of it, for many years on our light bills.

    this_guy wrote:
    I am not sure why anyone would defend the use of non-renewable resources for the wasteful lifestyle of the average Canadians.  Secondly, the problem with the NDP tax cut on home heating is that it is not at all targeted at the poor, it is just an accross-the-board tax cut.

     Like we said before, it gets cold in Canada. Canadians have few choices but to pay whatever to be warm in winter. The natural gas pipelines and drilling rights were pawned off to the corporatocracy and their rich American friends from the 1950s forward. Natural gas could have been a key piece of the energy solution in Canada's largest and most industrialised province. We were betrayed many years before the CUSFTA-NAFTA betrayals/treasonous acts by a succession of stoogeuacrats in Ottawa and Queen's Parks. As of 2005, Canada's economy reverted to hewer and drawer status, once again. That's not the NDP's fault or the fault of Canadians in general. If you don't want a real, modernizing G8 economy, then make sure never to vote NDP, because the other two parties running things into the ground will make sure it never happens.

    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    Bravo, Fidel! Excellent post, especially these great words: Canadians have a right to live with dignity and to have a roof over their heads and a right to food. Conservatives and some on the centre-right do not believe in guaranteeing these same basic human rights recognized by a majority of rich countries.

    Fidel

    Thanks Boom Boom. I try sometimes. It may appear as if I have two left hands on some days, but I give it all I've got. I just hope the other person is impressed similarly.

    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    I wish you'd run for the NDP in federal politics!  The country needs you.

    Fidel

    Pfffff! You're being vvvery generous. But I can suck it up jts. Tongue out I can see it all now. I'd prolly get myself tossed from the HoC first day.

    George Victor

    This guy is "frankly surprised by the resistance here.  The NDP is adopting a "Tea Party-like" populist stance calling for lower taxes and for some reason, some people here are not only buying it, but defending it too."

     

    The NDP is against NEW taxes on home heating. Nothing tea-partyish about it. Just more discriminating than the tea-partiers and the odd libertarian - let everyone look after themselves - prowling about here...

    Fidel

    He says very little about Canada being the most significant exporter of cheap fossil fuels and total energy to the world's most wasteful and most fossil fuel-dependent economy in the world south of us. Apparently he's not worried that Canada's national energy policy is dictated to us from corporate board rooms in America. Apparently this-guy isn't worried about Canadians paying through the nose to stay warm in winter.

    50% of Canadian natural gas production was exported to the northern US last winter. And it was barely enough to meet demand. NAFTA says we have to guarantee them somewhere around 60% of Canadian NG production.

    They say that what can not go on forever will stop.

    Life, the unive...

    Funny how the second part of the two part NDP plan - a more vigorous and generous eco-fit program, gets ignored by these so called progressives.  "Make the poor pay for all our past sins" - has a familar ring to anyone that has followed economic policy for a generation or more in Canada.

    Fidel

    Someone will have to pay. Better that working class Canadians, the old and the sick on low incomes pay than those who can afford it. And when Canada's crude oil and most profitable gas reserves run out in just a few short year's time, then the howling will begin.

    Buckle-up Canada! The Tories are drivin' after tossing back way too much o' the neoliberal kool aid down their necks, and we're a headin' for the rhubarb patch big time.

    this_guy

    Fidel wrote:

    He says very little about Canada being the most significant exporter of cheap fossil fuels and total energy to the world's most wasteful and most fossil fuel-dependent economy in the world south of us. Apparently he's not worried that Canada's national energy policy is dictated to us from corporate board rooms in America.

    Life, the unive... wrote:

    Funny how the second part of the two part NDP plan - a more vigorous and generous eco-fit program, gets ignored by these so called progressives.

    Maybe between all of the self-congratulation, you can actually refute the points that I made instead of attacking me for things that I did NOT say,  Regarding the eco-fit progam, I did not bring it up, but I do support that. I also support stopping the tax breaks for the fossil fuel companies. To say that I am not worried about who dictates Canada's energy policy, just because I didn't mention it is simply ridiculous.

    The argument that Canadians are just poor, honest, hardworking people trying to stay warm, yet the US has a 'wasteful fossil fuel-dependent economy' reminds me very much of a pot calling a kettle black, since the reality is our energy consumption patterns within Canada (urban vs. rural, province to province) differ much more than they do between Canada and the US.

    Anyway, now I know why I seldomly post to babble.  It is too difficult to have a real discussion of policy here, since any simple questioning of the party line, is just met with hostility and condescending comments.  Overall, this is just not worth my time.

     

    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    I should mention that last year I put on new windows, siding, and an insulation wrap, and my hydro bills so far have dropped a bit - it's early in the winter, so I'll have to see how it goes. But there are absolutely no drafts anywhere in the living area, where before the hallways especially remained cool even with the wood furnace going full blast - but back then, we used to get really cold winters. Our winters are really mild now.

    Fidel

    this_guy wrote:
    The argument that Canadians are just poor, honest, hardworking people trying to stay warm, yet the US has a 'wasteful fossil fuel-dependent economy' reminds me very much of a pot calling a kettle black, since the reality is our energy consumption patterns within Canada (urban vs. rural, province to province) differ much more than they do between Canada and the US.

    And I am not blaming Americans living in northern states either. They have the right to be warm in winter, too. We should not cause them freeze in the dark either. So what's next? Maybe they really do need to bulldoze all those little pink houses and leaky, drafty old barns rented to low income Americans. I think we need to do something more than nothing here in Canada at the same time. Doing something would be better than doing nothing. Of course, doing something might stimulate the economy, and who would want that besides the NDP and those of us who vote for them?

    ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

    this_guy wrote:

     

    The argument that Canadians are just poor, honest, hardworking people trying to stay warm, yet the US has a 'wasteful fossil fuel-dependent economy' reminds me very much of a pot calling a kettle black, since the reality is our energy consumption patterns within Canada (urban vs. rural, province to province) differ much more than they do between Canada and the US.

    Anyway, now I know why I seldomly post to babble.  It is too difficult to have a real discussion of policy here, since any simple questioning of the party line, is just met with hostility and condescending comments.  Overall, this is just not worth my time.

     

     

    Well some peeps are quite enamored of the party but I'm not one of them.  I am hardly partisan. Never have been and I can't see that changing any time soon.  Doesn't mean I put my vote there but it's not a given.   My comments have little to do with 'NDP says so I will just automatically support it' without actually thinking about it.   Thanks but I'm not a robot.  (not suggesting others are either this is about me and only me) 

     

    I am well aware of Canadians fossil fuel consumption and agree 100% completely with the need to reduce it and make Canadian 'living'  more efficient and less wasteful.   In my perfect world a whole lot something would be occur across the board to address this fact.  However that doesn't mean that I just say chop chop chop on the idea of the sheer principle without looking at the ramifications of the policies and yes in this case the plight, the struggle etc etc of lower income people in meeting the most basic of needs outweighs the overarching need to do exactly what you are arguing.   In this case I am actually compromising my chop, chop, chop beliefs.   Do I think that doing it with taxes is the absolute best plan and way forward?   Nope, not at all.   It would be much better if there was something else like some suggested subsidies, rebates for lower incomes etc etc.  However these sorts of programs are a pain in the fricken butt to set up and get agreed to in the first place because they require added $$$ for the paper pusher to run them    They also seem to always miss people who don't quite meet the 'paper' qualifications.    Some of the suggestions are also not up in the front.  Pay then get the 'relief' is just  not an acceptable policy because when one is living pay check to pay check every penny counts and waiting for months to get it back or getting it back once a year squeezes.    Been there and know what it's like. 

     

    So if there was a way to deal with the lower income part of the scale in terms of 'relief'  in fast, quick, upfront manner where the initial costs would be the same as the savings if the tax wasn't there then I'd be all for it.   The process needs to happen fast though. 

     

    So when I weigh all of these pro and cons I come out with that this  tax thing although a compromise with allow all those wasteful and better settled households to keep doing there thing to me it seems like the better out of a lot of not perfect or great options.  And while I completely agree that higher prices promote and provide motivation for people to use less of things and in the long run can lead to a reduction in fossil fuel use what many don't talk about that with these types of incentives its takes a while for the overall economy to adjust.  They have to wind their way through the system before they show a whole lot of good.  So perhaps better for the long term and the good of the country and the globe over all but in the meantime there are short term needs that have to be recognized. 

     

         The basic fact is that any adjustments in our overall economy in terms of reducing fossil fuel use and getting off the oil are going to hurt, they are going to be painful and are going to adversely affect people on the lower end of the scale more then people who have the resources to deal with these adjustments and the transition.   We're not just talking economic change here either but widescale social change as well.  A society and economy where fossil fuel use is reduced to the levels necessary to meet the threat of climate change is going to be different the what exists today.  It's not just going to be 'tweaked' here and there.   Any large scale ecomonic change no matter the reason always hit the lower segment harder.  Anyone who tries to suggest that getting off the oil is going to be some sort cakewalk with a few tweaks here and there is living a fantasy world.  There will be sacrifices if we do what needs to be done in terms of long term viability.   I have no problem in saying this totally and completely sucks.  The broader issue is trying to figure ways of doing it to not try to avoid the pain which is largely unavoidale  but mitigate it, make it as painless as possible.   That's of course if some sort of consensus can ever be reached to actually enact some sort of broad plan and course of action. Right now that's debatable if that will ever happen but that's another discussion.

    Regardless at least the way I look at and is that the most basic of needs have to be looked out for.   Staying warm in this country is one of them.  And if that means that on this point the some compromises have to be made in view of those who have little wiggle room, a segment that is actually increasing in numbers and that it gives others a break then so be it.  There are many, many other ways of fostering and putting out incentives to encourage reductions.  There are many, many other things that can be down to increase overall economic efficiency.  A tax or no tax on home fuel is a very minor tweak in regards to the overarching problem.  And while I totally get and understand the arguement for it in terms of climate change I don't think it's absolutely vital that it has to be done right now, especially since there is very little inkling of how it fits into wider strategy that's going to be implemented in the near future. 

     

    So that's some of my broader thinking around why I am not fussed about the NDP's idea around this tax.   I don't think it's a perfect or even great idea but an okay one in light  of everything else.

     

     

    A_J

    ElizaQ wrote:

    Some of the suggestions are also not up in the front.  Pay then get the 'relief' is just  not an acceptable policy because when one is living pay check to pay check every penny counts and waiting for months to get it back or getting it back once a year squeezes. Been there and know what it's like.

    That might be a good argument against cash transfers to offset the tax if we were talking about a new tax and a new burden that was being imposed, with rebates another 3 or 6 months away. But we're not (and even if that were the case, the solution is easy - mail out the first rebates at the same time the tax is imposed).

    For better or worse, people have been paying GST on their home fuel for the past 18 years. If rebates were put in the mail for low income earners tomorrow, they would be ahead of the game no less than if the GST were cut.  The only difference between the two is that cash transfers will leave the government with greater revenue than the across-the-board tax cut the NDP is proposing.

    George Victor

    I am waiting for Conservatives, first among the conspicuous consumers and first to call for tax reductions...to signify that they give one fiddler's fart about the future of their own progeny, let alone others.

    And I await others, of whatever political persuasion, to admit that the election of Conservatives - across North America - has been assured from the time of Ronnie Raygun simply by promising lower taxes. Liberals, under Jean and Paul, began cutting transfers to the provinces in 1994 just to stay ahead of the Conservative pack riding up out of the West.

    Now, there's nothing left to cut (oh, another point will come off the corporate tax rate, lowering it to the target 15 per cent in a year's time) and McGuinty is only doing what has become necessary to save what is left of public medicine and education.

    But people should be able to eat and heat in a Canadian winter.  This guy opened this thread "to see what others think of the NDP and and their push to remove the tax on home heating." He found out. He is properly concerned about our collective fate if we don't do something about carbon emissions - it has been a central question for me since the late 1960s. But how he can believe that the poor should pay the price of their health as the price to satisfy his concern, is beyond me.

    George Lakoff asks in "don't think of an elephant" :"Why don't progressives take advantage of wedge issues?"  It came to me that maybe "this guy" is just developing another wedge issue for obsessed Green Party Libertarians. I wouldn't know how else to describe him (or her).

    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    I enjoyed reading that, George. Smile

    Life, the unive...

    this_guy wrote:

    Maybe between all of the self-congratulation, you can actually refute the points that I made instead of attacking me for things that I did NOT say,  Regarding the eco-fit progam, I did not bring it up, but I do support that. I also support stopping the tax breaks for the fossil fuel companies. To say that I am not worried about who dictates Canada's energy policy, just because I didn't mention it is simply ridiculous.

    The argument that Canadians are just poor, honest, hardworking people trying to stay warm, yet the US has a 'wasteful fossil fuel-dependent economy' reminds me very much of a pot calling a kettle black, since the reality is our energy consumption patterns within Canada (urban vs. rural, province to province) differ much more than they do between Canada and the US.

    Anyway, now I know why I seldomly post to babble.  It is too difficult to have a real discussion of policy here, since any simple questioning of the party line, is just met with hostility and condescending comments.  Overall, this is just not worth my time.

     

     

    Actually there were a number of substantive posts about the topic.  The problem was they showed your 'let the poor pay for the sins of the past' views as wanting.  I know its hard to understand, but just because someone agrees with a policy of the NDP it does not make them defenders of the party line.  Your type of argument is the strawman of those who can't stand when people disagree with their view that the NDP is an anti-progressive force.  The simple reality is that I happen to agree with this policy plank and on balance think it is best and quickest way to relieve those dealing with poor heating and insulation options with limited funds while we work on the larger project of much greater energy effeciency and reducing our emmisions.  I know it is outmoded and an old fashioned view but I think people have a right to warmth, food and shelter.   You are free to disagree but lecturing people like me who were talking about the greenhouse effect back in the 70s as if we are climate change deniers isn't going to get warm, cuddly responses.

    Fidel

    A_J wrote:
    For better or worse, people have been paying GST on their home fuel for the past 18 years. If rebates were put in the mail for low income earners tomorrow, they would be ahead of the game no less than if the GST were cut.  The only difference between the two is that cash transfers will leave the government with greater revenue than the across-the-board tax cut the NDP is proposing.

    HST is a tax hike and on a lot more items than essentials like home heating fuel. That's all the two old line parties know how to do is raise taxes and have nothing to show for it afterwards. The NDP wants energy and efficiency programs and retrofits for the millions of drafty, leaky, sub-standard roach motels and rabbit warrens rented to low income Canadians so that poor Canadians can actually afford heat and lights and put food on the table.

    If you like shell games and donating your hard-earned money to federal slush funds that will be shovelled to their rich corporate friends to the end, then vote for either of the two oldest political parties federally to achieve the same effect.

    But if you think heat and lights and food on the table are basic human rights, and that the environmental situation demands we use less fossil fuel and stop wasting energy, then make sure to vote NDP.

    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    Fidel nails it again, as usual. I'm going to borrow that post.

    Fidel

    this_guy wrote:
    www.ndp.ca mockingly states "This is Canada.  It gets cold here.  Why doesn't Harper get it?" Would it be too much to ask for a more intellectual arguement? /.../ Making fossil fuels cheaper means Canadians will probably use more.  Why doesn't Layton get it?"

    [url=http://www.saultstar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2925662]Peter Reynolds[/url] gets it - the benefits of the former EcoEnergy Retrofit program which the [url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/03/31/eco-retrofit.html]pro fossil fuel industry Harpers suspended.[/url]

    The Sault Star wrote:
     In Reynolds' case, improvements increased the home's efficiency from 59% to 76%, making it affordable for his daughter and her family to live there.

    Heating bills alone dropped from $260 per month on equal billing to $60 during the peak winter months and the results show 8.4 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions have been saved.

    "Tenants can afford to pay the rent and their other bills because the bills are now manageable," Reynolds said.

     The fossil fuel industry and Harpers didn't like the idea that ordinary Canadians like those living at the Reynold's place were buying less fossil fuel and producing lower carbon emissions, so the retrofit program was scrapped. Jack Layton says Canadians need it back.

    Slumberjack

    There must be an election in the wind.  The virtual stump speeches are being dusted off and honed to their usual lacklustre edges.

    George Victor

    Bang on, Fidel. And Canada is losing the developed expertise of hundreds of Canadians trained in the objective evaluation of homes under an Energuide for Houses program that guaranteed honest appraisal. It was just beginning to grow to be an effective force...but less than 8 per cent of Canadian housing stock that needed attention and qualified for the program had been evaluated.  Given the Conservative's position of denial on things environmental - their fundamentalist followers find it positively the devil's work - their dropping the program was not completely unexpected.

    And the armchair critics are likely to write off our comments as simply party propaganda.

    kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

    I agree George the emphasis should be on the retrofit program.  To me the taxes component is a diversion from talking about the important issue of rebuilding our economy with local employment.  Taking the HST off home heating might be a great idea but sell that as the side dish not the main course.  

    Why not get really radical and call for a loans program for home owners to buy energy production items like solar panels?  Add on a dash of incentives to the provinces to buy back power from the new green energy producers on people's roofs.  The above is clearly well within NDP policy. To me it is about emphasis prior to an election. Promise people that their neighbours who work in the trades will have full employment and that new opportunities will be available for others to set up service companies to have an ongoing local economy that isn't boom and bust.  

    Never mind I am sure that the Canadian voter would rather hear that the NDP will save them a few hundred dollars on their heating bills.

    George Victor

    I evaluated nearly 3,000 homes over the period of the 90s. Turns out that everyone - homeowner and government agency with the grants - wants the biggest bang for their buck.  So we would list the energy-saving improvements in that order. The idea of putting forward alternative energy sources (not savers) like solar would not pay the homeowner unless they were already living in a very energy efficient home...and so could afford to indulge with, say, solar "thermal" collector for water pre-heating, or something for the cottage in place of a generator.

    Strangely, I would always offer the homeowner a piece of literature explaining what they were doing for the grandkids by lowering their carbon output through insulation, but their first question was, as I printed up the list of recommendations on the little bubble jet set up on their kitchen table, "But what's my dollar savings?"   

    But, then, how could Homo sapiens have wound up in this pickle in the first place if there wasn't a little selfishness built into the DNA?

    Fidel

    kropotkin1951 wrote:
    Why not get really radical and call for a loans program for home owners to buy energy production items like solar panels?

    Yes, the NDP does mention financial incentives in their 2008 platform. There is mention of small scale solar power power plants at the community level. I've seen other countries already have these kinds of solar generation plants already in place in various European cities. The NDP is strong on investing in renewabale energy sources. The NDP does have in their plan financial incentives for clean power from solar, wind, water and other sources from industrial co-gen to small scale community facilities.

    According the green power experts like Amory Lovins, the future of power generation is local not long distance transmission or any of the free market voodoo for dregulated power nor even "spot markets" for power, like the harebrained Tory and Liberal schemes for buying and selling power that flopped so spectacularly here in Ontario and dozens of US states since the 1990s. In fact, Ontario under  Rae's NDP was the first province in Canada to have a plan in place to reduce green house gas emissions. The NDP is very clean and very green with a proven track record.

    What we don't need are more corporate welfare handouts to the fossil fuel industry and pawning off public utilities to rich friends of "the party." The NDP also promises to stop the gravy train for big oil.

    George Victor

    Quote: For "green power experts like Amory Lovins, the future of power generation is local not long distance transmission" And that "future" may see more successful solar applicatiions down in Lovins' country (Colorado southward) than above the 49th parallel...not enough solar "insolation." They wouldn't be worth spit above the treeline for much of the year. No, "keeping the heat in" and using the best heat source (geothermal if you can afford it) is the way to go, Wind has more seasonal/geographic adaptability for low voltage requirements...light and communications.

    Fidel

    It all depends on what part of the country we're talking about. In Northern Ontario, there is excess power from falling water. McGuinty's Liberals made sure to mess that up for them though, incredibly.

    In places like Southern Ontario where demand is higher, Tories and Liberals thought that piling people higher and deeper in urban centres was smart. More nuclear, and everyone wants central a/c. That's not sustainable.

    Some parts of the country are ideal for wind , solar and renewables while others have excess generation from falling water. There is no single rule for a particular power source. And in the larger picture, Canada is a net exporter of electrical power. It's really messed up due to a lack of planning in Ottawa and provinces, and I must say there has been some corruption involved over time and producing the current situation.

    Lovins et all told Bob Rae's government that we need to learn to live where nature can support us. This should be a governing factor as to which renewable or mixture of renewables and clean energy communities should be pursuing.

    The future is microgeneration according to experts like Lovins and NDP. But we want to avoid what Campbell's people have done in BC with the run of the river dance fiasco out there. That circus is a good  example of how not to do micro-gen.

    Solar panels on rooftops and even solar roofing materials is a good idea, and the Brits and Germans have done a good job there with providing incentives to homeowners. But really, what we don't need is more urban sprawl and one or two people living in big barns. They aren't going to be able to afford to heat them in so many years. Those kinds of McMansions will eventually drop in value. We can't have rich developers determining how the national housing stock will look in two or three decades time, because they don't have a clue about what's coming. They just build what people think they can afford now. Watch those homes drop in value over the next 10 or 15 due to a lack of overall planning. They've been sleep walking in Ottawa and Toronto and Victoria.

    Fidel

    What's a mud room, Boom Boom? That sounds interesting.

    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    The renovations here last summer seem to have made a difference, as the house feels warmer especially around the new wndows. I'm rebuilding the garage this summer, will save for a 'mud room' next year - wish I could afford both jobs this year. The 'mud room' will make the front of the house warmer, as the doorway will be protected from the worse of the wind, and it will have a wood stove. I think it was funded 40% by te Quebec RenoVillage program - might have been a higher subsidy, will have to check.

    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    Fidel wrote:
    What's a mud room, Boom Boom? That sounds interesting.

     

    It's a room at the entrance of the house where you take off your muddy boots and jackets - a few houses here have them, because otherwise you'd track mud or snow into the house. The wood stove is to dry everything out, and make the front of the house warmer - I don't have any heat in the vestibule.

    BTW, the Quebec RenoVillage program is administered by municipalities for renovations to make homes more fuel efficient, for  low-income residents. Obviously I qualify.

    Fidel

    I think I could use a mud room at the front. My problem is a lack of frontage. The city moved the property line on the whole street years ago and without compensation for all but one special person down the street,  and now all our front steps are real close to the road allowance.

    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    Too bad. But a 'mud room' is a very rural concept, not an urban one.

    George Victor

    quote: "Solar panels on rooftops and even solar roofing materials is a good idea"

     

    Be great in Arizona. Iqaluit could use them for a brief time in summer. Run some lights and a tv set/radio. Just like a cottage.

    Lovins has been making a living from his feel-good generalizations for a couple of generations.

    Fidel

    I live in a clay belt here, and there is red clay all over town, from the river to the top of the hill where I am. Most of the yard here is grass, but there are places where it's really muddy. I have to keep putting gravel in the driveway every few years as the clay kind of swallows it.

    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    I didn't realize that, Fidel. Maybe you could convert the front room to kind of a mud room vestibule?

    Fidel

    George Victor wrote:

    quote: "Solar panels on rooftops and even solar roofing materials is a good idea"

     

    Be great in Arizona. Iqaluit could use them for a brief time in summer. Run some lights and a tv set/radio. Just like a cottage.

    And not so good for powering saw mills, pulp&paper or steel mills. In other words, old world, energy intensive economy.

     

    George Victor wrote:
    Lovins has been making a living from his feel-good generalizations for a couple of generations.

    I don't think Lovins' recipes are perfect. James Heartfield and other critics of greenwashed capitalism have made valid points about capitalists taking advantage of scarcity. But capitalists were planning to deindustrialize for a long time. They have wanted to return to the guarantees in rent-seeking financialised economy ever since the writing was on the wall for oil in the 70s. I think the moral of the story is that if we allow corporations to dictate national energy policy, we will tend to get results that are very compatible with capitalism and not meeting the needs of ordinary people. Things were not so good under the old world oil-based economy, and things have been just as bad under the neoliberal financial scheme of things. We need a plan, and I think people like Lovins are on the right track. We can't afford waste and excess anymore.

    I think the progression of power gen will be clean energy and renewables, solar, co-gen, wind for the next few decades. The simple truth is that we have no easy replacements for oil and natural gas, coal etc. And the big tamale for harnessing star-like power, nuclear fusion, is decades away. We are at least 30 years behind the eight ball on advanced power physics. Some say the greenies and hippies are to blame for that. I don't know. What we do know is that there is controversy between nuclear power technology and nuclear weapons. Nuclear is like doing expensive brain surgery for a headache. And because we do live by the diktats of global finance since the 1970s and especially since 1991, financing nuclear just isn't very smart choice financially. Wall St won't touch it. Bay Streeters don't want to take it on as a money losing venture. Conservation and efficiency and renewables is the first best choice as far as I'm concerned. In the mean time they should be investing heavily in advanced power physics. Maybe something will come frmo CERN in the next 10 or 15 that will help solve the energy issue. No idea really.

    But I think we can kiss the north polar ice cap goodbye in the mean time. Places like the UK will become colder and energy needs there will rise as a result. We can't afford to do nothing while we wait for silver bullet solutions.

    Fidel

    Boom Boom wrote:

    I didn't realize that, Fidel. Maybe you could convert the front room to kind of a mud room vestibule?

    I gotta figure somethin out. It seems like I'm sweeping and wiping near the front door like alla time. It's driving me bananas. I think I could have OCD or something.

    Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

    In the meantime, I'm looking for more Quebec/Canada renovation grants. RenoVillage is only to bring fuel costs down for low income people - not to add rooms or rebuild a garage. I'm going to try CMHC next - they got me an incredibly low cost mortgage - I pay less for the mortgage each month than if I were renting, and I own the place when the ten year mortgage is paid - in 2016. I've been thinking I want to fix the place up as much as I can, and sell everything when it's all paid off, and likely move to Ottawa or Hull ...oops, Gatineau.

    Fidel

    Sounds like a plan. We'll have to meet up for beers after you get to Gatineau in 016-17 thereabouts.

    George Victor

    You're the best, guys.  Live long and prosper. (and check out the literature from Queen's Park that will be in your mailbox any day, Fidel.  Rebate goodies for you folks paying bigtime for electricity in the frigid zone. Wink

    Fidel

    Quote:
    Rebate goodies for you folks paying bigtime for electricity in the frigid zone.

    Just so long as we use more energy and not less, our corrupt stooges and their power industry pals are laughing all the way to the bank.

    JenniferAnneTemple

    Once upon a time the NDP, in their constitution preambe stated:

    "The production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economey, AND NOT TO THE MAKING OF PROFIT; To modify and control the operations of the monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through economic and socil planning, and, where necessary, the extention of social ownership."

    BUT

    They have abandoned this preamble to their constitution; under Jack Layton it has become a populist mini-liberal party. I muist confess, Jack has left me no political home because he has basicly killed the "socialist" aspect of the NDP. Why would it surprize you that he haS  abandon concern about carbon and the environment to chase votes. Now, like all others he pays cheap lip service to issues. These days it seemes politics are never about US, its always ABOUT THEM.

    We need to get back to that place where WE sent MPs to Ottawa to speak for us, now Ottawa tells our MPs WHAT they MUST DO FOR THE PARTY. It has vnothing to do with representing ridings anymore.

    JenniferAnneTemple

    Once upon a time the NDP, in their constitution preambe stated:

    "The production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economey, AND NOT TO THE MAKING OF PROFIT; To modify and control the operations of the monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through economic and socil planning, and, where necessary, the extention of social ownership."

    BUT

    They have abandoned this preamble to their constitution; under Jack Layton it has become a populist mini-liberal party. I muist confess, Jack has left me no political home because he has basicly killed the "socialist" aspect of the NDP. Why would it surprize you that he haS  abandon concern about carbon and the environment to chase votes. Now, like all others he pays cheap lip service to issues. These days it seemes politics are never about US, its always ABOUT THEM.

    We need to get back to that place where WE sent MPs to Ottawa to speak for us, now Ottawa tells our MPs WHAT they MUST DO FOR THE PARTY. It has vnothing to do with representing ridings anymore.

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