Provincial NDP party leader Andrea Horwath believes Ontario needs to urgently address the climate crisis, and has revealed part of her party’s comprehensive plan to quickly do so, including new electric vehicle incentives.
“It’s bold, but it is absolutely achievable,” said Horwath at the University of Guelph on Thursday morning about the NDP party’s zero-emissions vehicle strategy.
The strategy, which aims to make 100 per cent of all new vehicle sales in Ontario be electric vehicles by 2035, will provide manufacturers with help to retool to produce electric vehicles, financial incentives for consumers to buy electric passenger vehicles and give $600 per household to cover the cost of buying and installing a charging station at home.
“It's everyday families and everyday practical folks that want to own that electric vehicle, but simply need that little financial help to achieve that goal,” said Horwath.
The zero-emissions vehicle strategy is part of the New Green Democratic Deal which includes a number of initiatives to reduce emissions and help address climate crisis challenges in the province.
Horwath adds this plan will see every transit system in the province, like buses and trains, switch to electric by 2040. To help make this happen, she explains the NDP party will need to build relationships with municipalities while working with them on the transition.
“We would need to make sure those municipalities are on board and that their fleets are able to be moved out, in terms of the combustion type of vehicles, and replaced with electric vehicles," she said.
Joining Horwath for the announcement was Peter Tabuns, NDP climate crisis and energy critic, and Sandy Shaw, NDP environment, conservation and parks critic, and Guelph resident Jamey Rosen, who owns an electric vehicle.
During the event, Rosen talked about how he and his family wanted to reduce their carbon emissions, but have to switch to a gas vehicle if they want to travel further than Waterloo Region or Hamilton.
“It feels like a big letdown, it's a tremendous compromise I have to resort to this vehicle,” said Rosen “But if that infrastructure was there, if small communities, rural areas and everywhere we need it had these charging stations, I would gladly get rid of the gas vehicle."
“We don’t want people to have to make that decision,” said Horwath about Rosen’s situation, “We want to have the infrastructure in place, so that people can confidently purchase their electric vehicle with some support for the government, put charging stations into their own homes, and be confident that they don't have to fall back on fossil fuels."
"We want to show Ontarians that we can have hope for the future....taking on the climate emergency that we are facing and doing so in a way that improves all our lives and creating hundreds of jobs."