A day after the Liberal Government’s Speech from the Throne where they pledged to take Ontario’s hydro crisis seriously, the Minister of Energy will be missing in action during Question Period. Instead of being in the Legislature, he will be back home avoiding being held accountable.
Here are some of the questions the Ontario PC Caucus will be unable to ask Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault today:
- Just a few months ago, former Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli said both, “The electricity rates for industrial customers in Northern Ontario are among the lowest in North America,” and “Ontario’s residential electricity rates are and will remain competitive.” By acknowledging Northern Ontario’s unsustainable and uncompetitive rates, are you disagreeing with your predecessor?
- Just a couple of months ago you said “I’m still not using the word crisis,” to describe Ontario’s energy sector. This was at the same time record levels of Ontarians were in energy poverty, rates were among the highest in North America, and both the Auditor General and Ombudsman had blasted Ontario’s electricity system. Between your comments two months ago and today, what’s changed? Was it just the fact your Party lost the Scarborough-Rouge River by-election?
- Carole Legault of Azilda spends $660 a month on hydro, and the bills keep increasing. She’s forced to heat her home with wood, which is barely enough to keep her three kids warm at night. Instead of paying some of the highest rates on the continent, she covers her children in blankets for warmth. Your Government has finally pledged to take the hydro crisis seriously. For that we applaud you. But, the Throne Speech offered nothing more than hydro band-aids. Hydro rates will continue to skyrocket for Northern and rural families like the Legaults. Is an increase of $17 in rebates for low-density customers sufficient for Carole Legault when rates will increase again on November 1st? Will $17 a month keep her children warm at night?
- The Opposition Parties have been promising to take HST off of hydro rates since the 2011 election. At the time, the Minister of Energy, and now Minister of Economic Development, Brad Duguid called it an example of a Leader “winging it,” and your Party referred to it as a “gimmick.” Do you agree with your colleagues? Is your Government “winging it” because they got embarrassed in the Scarborough-Rouge River by-election? Is your Government desperately reverting to “gimmicks” because they don’t have a credible plan to address the hydro crisis?