COLUMN: 37 Billion reasons

MORRISBURG — 37-Billion dollars. That is billion, with a capital ‘B’. That is 37 followed by nine zeros and no cents; or is that sense. Ontario auditor-general Bonnie Lysyk’s scathing annual report, released Wednesday, stated that we [Ontarians] have paid 37-Billion more for electricity than we needed to. 37-Billion over-and-above the market rates for electricity. Pause for a second and let that sink in. Since 2003 when Dalton McGuinty and his merry band of Liberals were elected, Ontario has wasted not just millions, or billions, but tens-of-billions on schemes, handouts, failures and none of those failures are greater than our electricity system.

Lysyk’s report stated that the government meddled in energy policies that was in contravention of provincial law. “We found that the electricity power planning process had essentially broken down over the past decade,” stated Lysyk at a Queen’s Park press conference Wednesday. She went on to state that the Ministry of Energy went against technical advice from the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and made decisions based on politics.

This is hardly new coming from the Wynne/McGuinty Liberals. Name the ministry or department and you can find something that the Liberals have managed to turn into a boondoggle. Each boondoggle costing taxpayers millions or billions. The usual suspects have been repeated ad nauseam but it is worth repeating again: E-Health, Ornge Air Ambulance, gas-plant cancellations, the Green Energy Act, the MaRS Discovery District, et cetera. The boondoggle beat goes on, just pounding debt to this province.

While the Liberals in Toronto were out forcing Ontarians to spend 37-Billion more than they needed to for electricity, successive Energy Ministers proclaimed they were doing their best to keep the energy costs down. If doing their best means giving Ontarians the shaft and making them pay twice as much for the privilege, then Bravo! Mission accomplished.

Every Energy Minister under the McGuinty/Wynne mandate deserves blame for the screwed-up system that is Ontario’s electricity sector. Dwight Duncan, Donna Cansfield, Gerry Phillips, George Smitherman, Brad Duguid, Chris Bentley, and Bob Chiarelli. Premiers Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne both deserve high-praise for the mess as well.

According to Lysyk’s report, Ontarians will pay an additional 133-billion for electricity by 2032 should the policies stay the same.

There were many other items mentioned in the auditor-general’s report, from issues with the Children’s Aid Society to health care, to, well, everything.

In the end it comes down to this. Ontarians have been far to complacent and allowed the unions and urban vote to carry Premier Wynne back to Queen’s Park. The next opportunity to remove this merry band of feckless wonders from office occurs in 2018. From the view here in rural Ontario, there are at least 37-Billion reasons why the Liberals need to go; and zero reasons for them to stay.

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