COLUMN: Ontario electricity rates set to sky-rocket again

SDSG MPP Jim McDonell. (MPP Office via Newswatch Group, File)

Last week, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli announced that the average person’s hydro bill will increase by $137 next year. This is particularly disturbing when you consider that rates in our competing American markets are actually decreasing due to their increased use of cheap natural gas. We see people in our office every week with a hydro bill that they cannot afford to pay due to the increases caused by lack of oversight and the reckless policies of the failed Green Energy Act. The surprise $25,000 hydro bill at the former Maple Ridge School in Chesterville is just one of the frightening examples that people are dealing with.

Ontarians have lost faith in the Liberal Government’s ability to execute this new policy competently. Their record over the last 12 years speaks for itself as hydro rates have increased 325%. Ontarians have watched the cancellation of the gas plants costing Ontario taxpayers over a billion dollars; they have witnessed the smart meters fiasco result in almost double what it was supposed to cost at $1.9 billion; and they have seen the selling off of energy to our competitors in neighbouring jurisdictions at a loss of about $1.3 billion last year. Last week’s release of the sunshine list reveals that 77% of all employees at Hydro One are earning more than $100,000. Competitive electricity rates are essential if we hope to be able to attract back the good paying manufacturing jobs that have left Ontario over the past dozen years. The planned liberal carbon tax will only serve to hurt our competitiveness even further and drive up consumer costs of food and essential services, such as gas and electricity.

On March 5th, I had the opportunity to present Bill 54, The Right to Care Act, for debate in the Legislature. The bill allows Children’s Aid Societies to support 16 and 17 year old children who find themselves out on the street with no means of support. Currently youths in this age bracket can only receive aid from the CAS if they have been a previous client. All parties agreed to supporting all children under the age of 18 and came together to support the Bill unanimously. It has now been referred to Committee, where the Government wishes to see an amendment regarding incapacitated children. I agree with the amendment and will be drafting the changes immediately.

The Sudbury election scandal also occupied much of Question Period, with the Premier dodging questions concerning the OPP investigation into the bribery allegations against the her Deputy Chief of Staff, Pat Sorbara and local liberal kingmaker, Sudbury Police Services Board Chief Gerry Lougheed Jr. Premier Wynne finally scheduled a meeting with the OPP in late April, almost 3 months after they requested the interview. Leaving these two high ranking government officials in key decision-making roles and delaying her interview with the OPP is sending a message that bribery is no cause for concern with this government. This is unacceptable.

Jim McDonell
MPP, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry

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