A $1.4-billion federal plan to help low-income people cope with high heating costs got a chilly reception in the Commons on Wednesday.
Spokesmen for all three opposition parties said that the plan to mail out energy rebates to low-income people would provide no help to many who need it the most.
"This huge announcement will leave out truckers, taxi drivers and the vast majority of consumers," charged Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe.
"Why is this government so insensitive to the concerns of the middle-class people?"
Details of the five-year plan are to be announced Thursday, but it's expected to provide $125 for single people who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement and $250 for families receiving the Child Tax Benefit Supplement.
The plan will also subsidize retrofits of low-income rental housing to improve energy efficiency, a measure that received little criticism. Instead, the mail-out rebates were the focus of attack.
NDP Leader Jack Layton said many people will face increases of $500 in heating costs this winter, but the criteria for eligibility, as reported, will exclude most childless couples.