Last week away from Queen’s Park (March 17)
by MPP Jim McDonell
Last week, we saw provincial government members fanning out across the province to broadcast the news of their latest energy scheme – the 17% cut to hydro bills paid for by mortgaging more of our children’s future. This week they launched an expensive advertising campaign on the public dime promoting their plan. Just two years ago, these self-congratulatory taxpayer-funded ads would have been illegal in Ontario. This government changed the rules and now promote themselves with abandon.
On Thursday, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy addressed Western Ontario’s greenhouse growers, who are moving south of the border in record numbers. Ignoring the issue of uncompetitive energy rates altogether, he blamed this exodus on the local humid climate. Local farmers were unimpressed, and quickly pointed out that Ohio is as humid as Ontario and that the cost of energy is the real issue. Hydro and cap-and-trade are making it tougher to compete with foreign growers, so moving remains the only option to stay in business.
The government’s excuses for our electricity system’s state do not wash. Closing our coal plants was made possible by increased production at Bruce Power, while consumption has been driven to well below 2003 levels, due in no small part to the loss of our manufacturing sector and its good paying jobs.
Instead, the government has wasted billions on transmission projects that go nowhere, moving gas plants to areas where they aren’t needed, and overpaying for unneeded solar and wind projects. Add this to the waste, scandal and mismanagement within the system and it is clear why our electricity rates have skyrocketed ahead of those of our neighbours.
Unlike the out of touch government, our leader Patrick Brown MPP offers clear commitments; we would stop the sale of Hydro One, rein in their outrageous executive salaries, and cancel the Green Energy Act and its over-paid wind and solar projects. It’s time for the government of Ontario to put Ontarians first and base their energy policies on science and sound economics, and not on political donations to the party in power. When they come visiting, ask them the tough questions. Who is the government looking after with the deleted records, the reduction of the Auditor-General’s oversight and the overpaying of wind and solar projects in our backyard? Not Ontarians!