Question Period: Energy Conservation – December 4th, 2014
Mr. Coon: We know that many New Brunswick families and small businesses struggle with their heating costs every winter, and we know that many people in this province need jobs. A recent study by Canmac Economics, a consulting firm in Nova Scotia, found that investment in energy efficiency is building a local industry that will grow more than five times faster than the provincial economy in that province over the next five years. It is already creating over 1 200 jobs, and not one of those jobs required fracking a single drop of shale gas. That is 1 200 jobs in that province. These results are comparable to what we achieved in New Brunswick early on with investments through Efficiency NB before its budget was reduced.
My question is for the Premier: Will the Premier set a target for the percentage of households . . .
Mr. Speaker: Time, member.
Hon. Mr. Arseneault: I have been very clear. Our past has shown that we believe in energy efficiency programs. Even within our platform, we said that we will reinstate the home energy retrofit program. We believe in what that will do for residents across New Brunswick. At the same time, we do believe that it will create economic activity that we greatly need in this province. We did make some changes to how we deliver energy efficiency programs in New Brunswick, and those details will come out in the very near future.
Rest assured, the Liberal Party and the Liberal government under Premier Gallant do believe in energy efficiency programs, and that will be shown in our actions.
Mr. Coon: My question is for the Premier. Will the Premier set a target for the percentage of households that will be retrofitted through the home retrofit program his government has committed to reinstate so that our energy efficiency service sector can ramp up its capacity to employ new people and expand their businesses to meet the potential as a result of these investments in energy efficiency?
L’hon. M. Arseneault : Encore une fois, le gouvernement libéral croit dans les programmes d’efficacité énergétique pour nos maisons et les personnes qui les habitent. Nous savons que les taux d’électricité que paient les familles et les entreprises dans la province continuent d’augmenter. Nous avons toujours dit que la façon la plus efficace de réduire les factures d’électricité est de consommer moins d’énergie. C’est pour cette raison que les gouvernement libéraux du passé, ainsi que celui que nous voyons maintenant et que nous verrons à l’avenir, investissent dans des programmes d’efficacité énergétique.
Je peux assurer au député d’en face que nous allons continuer de démontrer l’avantage des programmes d’efficacité énergétique au Nouveau-Brunswick. Comme nous l’avons indiqué dans notre plateforme électorale, nous allons rétablir le programme d’améliorations résidentielles écoénergétiques. Le programme va continuer, et les investissements vont suivre. Nous sommes certains que cela créera de l’activité économique dans la province.
Mr. Coon: The job creation potential of New Brunswick’s energy efficiency service sector for our tradespeople—insulating contractors, heating contractors, ventilation contractors, architects, and engineers—is massive if energy efficiency retrofits are focused on businesses, commercial buildings, and industry as well as households. Can the Premier assure the House that our government’s investments in creating jobs in the energy efficiency sector will be made across all classes of energy users and will include households and businesses that heat with natural gas, oil, propane, or wood?
Hon. Mr. Arseneault: The official opposition could learn from the member from Fredericton. He has ideas, and we both have the same common sense. We believe in home energy programs not only for the benefits they will bring the residents of New Brunswick but also for the economic activity in the whole province. I do intend to work with you.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Arseneault: You do have great ideas. We both believe in home energy retrofit programs, and that is going to continue under the leadership of Premier Gallant.