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New Brunswick Liberals promise incentive program for green home renovations

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick’s Liberal leader is promising to create an incentive program for home renovations if his party is elected to govern on Sept. 14.

While campaigning Thursday in Oromocto, N.B., Kevin Vickers said the program will focus on promoting energy efficiency to help homeowners reduce their monthly bills.

“Many New Brunswickers have felt financial pressures and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic but need to make renovations to their homes,” Vickers said. “The program will … also spur economic activity throughout New Brunswick.”

Vickers said the program would cover up to 50 per cent of the expenses for renovations to a maximum of $2,500. The work must be completed by a licensed contractor.

“These are things like heat pumps, windows, insulation — anything that would reduce energy consumption, save money for our residents and kickstart the economy,” he said, adding that the program could generate revenue for contractors and hardware stores across the province.

The party leader said the total cost for the program would be about $12 million, assuming 5,000 homeowners qualified for the maximum refund. The funding would come from New Brunswick’s $36-million federal carbon tax refund.

Vickers took aim at Tory Premier Blaine Higgs, saying the Progressive Conservatives have ignored economic issues.

“Blaine Higgs wants you to think everything is back to normal,” Vickers said. “But our businesses are still feeling the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic … Our Liberal team will transform our economy to bring good jobs and good salaries to New Brunswickers in all regions.”

Earlier in the day, the People’s Alliance party announced it would like to see the next government provide more support for seniors and home-care organizations.

Leader Kris Austin issued a statement saying his party had pushed the Progressive Conservative government to increase the wages for personal-care assistants to more than $15 an hour, starting next month.

Austin also said the party is promising to provide personal-care assistants with a rebate for their $2,000 training costs.

Later on Thursday, Vickers, Higgs and Austin are expected to join the three other party leaders for the first televised debate of the election campaign.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020.

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