Hydro commercials in contempt of Parliament: Barrett


QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is waiting to hear the results of questions raised in connection to the government’s new advertising campaign about electricity pricing.

Yesterday, Ontario Opposition House Leader Jim Wilson charged that Kathleen Wynne’s taxpayer-funded hydro ads are in contempt of parliament. The self-congratulatory ads, which the auditor general said are out of line, are running before legislation has been introduced. This is an alleged breach of parliamentary rules, Wilson informed the Speaker as he rose on a point of privilege arguing a case of contempt by the Minister of Energy.

“What we’ve got here is a clear case of electioneering from the Wynne Liberals using taxpayer dollars,” said Wilson.

The ads in question, touting the Liberals’ new hydro scheme, appeared on both social media and radio markets across Ontario.

Today, Ontario PC Deputy Leader and Ethics and Accountability Critic Steve Clark, introduced a motion which would have stopped the new self-serving hydro ad campaign until the Speaker delivers his ruling on the contempt motion. This was blocked by the Liberals.

Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown has already written to Treasury Board President Liz Sandals asking her to immediately stop the ad campaign, release a detailed account of the budget for these advertisements, as well as which consulting firms received the contracts. These ads are potentially costing millions of dollars while families, businesses, hospitals, schools and other institutions suffer every day from unaffordable electricity bills.

“Neither MPPs nor the public even know what the new hydro scheme looks like, what it will cost, and who will get left behind,” added Wilson. “Clearly, these advertisements serve no purpose other than to promote Kathleen Wynne’s re-election.”

“Based on past parliamentary rulings, we feel that we’ve got a very strong case. We look forward to hearing the ruling of the Speaker,” said Wilson, noting that the Ministry of Energy has previously confirmed that legislation is needed to enact this new hydro pricing scheme.

“I await the results of the investigation,” Barrett said. “There is no way advertisements like these should be funded by the taxpayer.”


For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]