Anna Thistle, Opposition Finance Critic and MHA for the District of Grand
Falls - Buchans, is once again calling on government to announce a home
heating rebate program to assist low and fixed income earners to defray the
cost of heating their homes this winter. She says that consumers face an
immediate need for assistance in the wake of increased electricity and home
heating oil costs.
"Government has been stalling the announcement of a
home heating program for several months and it is now time to act," said
Thistle. "Increased home heating fuel and electricity prices are causing
undue hardship for low and middle income earners in this province. When I
raised this issue over a month ago, government indicated that cabinet was
considering a program and an announcement would be made in the near future.
"The time to act is now because people are currently filling their oil
tanks at record prices in preparation for the cold winter season. It will be
too late for many families if government waits to offer a rebate once the
winter is over. Electricity and oil rebates should be available before the
end of the year so that families will not be forced to choose between
heating their homes and purchasing food, clothing and other basic
necessities. High energy prices will also result in higher costs for basic
consumer goods as energy costs are passed on to consumers.
"Reports indicate that the federal government is now considering a
program to assist low income Canadians who are impacted by high energy
costs. Our own provincial government has a responsibility to protect seniors
and other low income earners who face an uncertain financial situation this
winter. Energy costs are substantially higher now than they have been in
recent history and it is time for the Premier to recognize the impact this
will have on people.
"It is not acceptable for government to reap the benefits of gasoline
taxes and profits from high oil prices while the vulnerable in our society
suffer. I am calling on government to immediately release details of a home
heating rebate program for all low income and fixed income energy users in