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NDP leader slams Liberals for giving nearly $26M to Costco, Loblaw in recent years

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is slamming the federal Liberals for giving nearly $26 million to Costco and Loblaw for energy-efficient appliances.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks during a press conference in Toronto on Monday, April 1, 2024. Singh is slamming the federal Liberals for handing out nearly $26 million to Costco and Loblaws for energy-efficient appliances in recent years.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is slamming the federal Liberals for giving nearly $26 million to Costco and Loblaw for energy-efficient appliances. 

The money came from the Liberal government's low-carbon economy fund, which is meant to support projects that will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. 

In 2019, the Liberals faced heat from Conservatives after the government announced it was giving up to $12 million to Loblaw for energy-efficient refrigerators and freezers at 370 of its stores. 

Newly released data from Environment and Climate Change Canada show Costco was also given more than $15 million for efforts to reduce emissions, including new fridges. 

Loblaw was ultimately given more than $10 million. 

The payments were made to the two grocery chains between 2019 and 2023. 

While people are deciding what they can afford in grocery aisles the Liberals are deciding how many millions of dollars to hand out to grocery giants, Singh said Wednesday. 

"Just stop giving millions of dollars of our public money to highly profitable companies," he said.

"Stop giving million of dollars to a for-profit corporation instead of helping people who are struggling to afford food."

The Opposition Conservatives accused Singh of faking outrage over the issue.

The party argued that New Democrats are supporting subsidies going to corporations because they continue to prop up the minority Liberal government through a political pact.

"It's shocking albeit unsurprising that Jagmeet Singh, the junior coalition partner in Justin Trudeau’s costly Liberal-NDP majority government, provided tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to massive grocery chains that are making billions off Canadians while they are struggling to put food on the table," said Sebastian Skamski, a spokesperson for Tory Leader Pierre Poilievre. 

Facing questions in the House of Commons over the issue, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lauded government initiatives that he said will help Canadians with affordability, including the national food lunch program announced in this year's federal budget. 

He also pointed to what the Liberals branded a "grocery rebate," a doubling of the GST tax credit for low-income families delivered last year. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2024. 

Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press