BY SCOTT BLINKHORN
Ontarians have been crying for relief from the squeeze put on them by rising hydro rates. On March 2, Premier Kathleen Wynne delivered.
One can hardly blame people if they choose to look this gift horse in the mouth, as it turns out it has rotten teeth and a bad leg.
The summer will see electricity prices cut by 17 per cent for residential customers, which will work in harmony with the eight per cent sales-tax reduction that took effect in January. Together, the savings should provide the relief people need but it does nothing to solve the underlying problem and simply flips the bill to future generations.
The Liberals plan to pay for this plan by lengthening the financing agreements for past contracts. This means Ontario will pay more but over a longer period, around $25 billion in interest over the next 30 years. Rather than bleeding customers like Dracula, the Wynne government has elected to cover everyone in Ontario with leeches, wait three decades and check to see if anyone is still alive.
The plan also calls for $2.5 billion in additional funding to help subsidize costs for low-income and rural households, according to a press release issued by the office of the premier.
This subsidization will not only make taxpayers responsible for their power usage, but that of their neighbour’s. So, a family struggling to keep their household budget under control and who remembers to turn off the lights when they leave the room will have to help pay for a family down the road who simply can’t be bothered.
Fortunately, if nothing else, the measure will stop consumers from having to choose between food and electricity.
This move has many critics complaining that the measure is little more than a shameless attempt to buy votes in the 2018 election.
Supporters of this measure have said it is like throwing struggling Ontarians a life preserver, completely overlooking the fact that the same woman who so courageously threw the preserver was also responsible for running the ship straight into an iceberg.
The simple fact is that the Liberals were well aware of rising hydro costs and the burden they had placed on Ontarians when they implemented a cap-and-trade system in the province and when they handed out ludicrous subsidies to generators of wind and solar power.
In 15 months, voters will have the chance to give the Liberals the trial the captain of the Titanic never had.
The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.