Tories cry foul over $12M to help Loblaws buy energy-efficient coolers

Conservative environment critic Ed Fast is slamming the federal government's decision to give $12 million to help Loblaws stores make their refrigerators and freezers more energy-efficient.

Fast says he is curious how many ordinary Canadians could just walk into the prime minister's office and ask him to buy them a new fridge.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced the funds for Loblaws at a Loblaws Superstore in her Ottawa riding Monday, to cover one-quarter of the costs of retrofitting the refrigeration systems in 370 of the company's supermarkets over the next three years.

She says the greenhouse-gas emissions reduced through the project will cut Loblaws' overall emissions by nearly a fourth and be the equivalent of taking 50,000 cars off the road.

The funds come from a $450-million national challenge run by the government inviting companies to apply for money, with the winning bids selected based on which projects are expected to achieve the deepest emissions cuts.

A spokeswoman for McKenna says small businesses can apply to a separate fund for help to cut their emissions and an announcement is coming soon on the carbon-tax rebates promised for them.