WOODSTOCK — The next Ontario election less than a year away, NDP leader Andrea Horwath pitched her party's plan to boost jobs and fight climate change during a stop deep in Southwestern Ontario's Conservative heartland Wednesday.
Horwath, the opposition leader in the legislature, said an NDP government would bring in a program to upgrade buildings to reduce their carbon emissions, part of a wide-ranging plan the party released in March to fight climate change and create jobs.
The NDP has said the retrofit program for existing buildings would create 100,000 jobs and would operate alongside a requirement that all new buildings be net-zero for carbon emissions by 2030.
"We know there's a lot of work to be done to make our homes and businesses and our government buildings much more energy-efficient, while at the same time, not only attacking the climate crisis but using that attack on the climate crisis as an opportunity," Horwath said during a visit to Arntjen Clean Energy Solutions, a solar power systems and farm technology company in Woodstock.
Horwath said the NDP's retrofit program would create trade and professional jobs across Ontario, "everything from (work for) carpenters to accountants and other professionals."
The retrofit program is part of the NDP's green economy platform, which also promises such measures as $600 per household to install electric vehicle recharging systems, planting one billion trees by 2030 and beefing back up the role of Ontario's environmental commissioner, which Doug Ford's Conservative government downgraded in a merger with the office of the province's auditor general.
Horwath was in Tory-held Oxford for Wednesday's announcement, a riding the NDP won in 1990 but lost five years later to the Tories who have held it since.
The next Ontario election is due in June 2022.
The Tories hold seven of the London region's 10 seats, the NDP three — all in London.
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Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press