For Immediate Release:
November 14, 2010
Queens Park – Ontario’s Opposition Environment Critic was back in the Ontario Legislature lamenting yet another tax grab under the guise of environmentalism.
Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett leveled pointed questions in the Legislature today following the seven month delayed release of The Ontario Electronic Stewardship’s annual report indicating the program collected $44 million in eco-taxes while only achieving 2% of its recycling targets.
“Minister, this is awkward—2%? I have a goat that could do a better job of recycling than that,” Barrett asserted. “Admit it minister, this is just another greedy tax grab dressed up in green clothing.”
In his questions, Barrett noted that the only response from government for the abysmal failure has been a strongly worded memo to the OES from Environment Minister Jim Wilkinson.
“Your program for electronics is similar to your eco tax scheme that you surprised Ontario families with the same day you brought out the HST,” noted Barrett. “Just like that program, Ontario families pay, but you aren’t meeting your own environmental targets.
“What’s your plan, Minister, when you miss your targets next year? Will you send yet another tersely-worded memo, perhaps all in caps?”
Following Question Period, Barrett further questioned the reply of OES executive director Carol Hochu who noted that while the organization was disappointed to fall short of some of its year one targets, it has already seen a 110% improvement so far in its second year of operation. Barrett wondered if that meant electronics recycling would therefore go from 2 per cent to a 4 per cent success rate.
“This is one of the best examples yet of ‘pay more, get less’ in Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario – consumers pay, while the electronics stay…in landfill,” Barrett concluded. “As usual, the government’s “green” strategy is more about big, bloated bureaucracy than getting results for Ontario families. It puts ideology before environmental and economic policy.”
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For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at
(519) 428-0446 or (905)-765-8413, 1-800-903-8629
Legislative Assembly of Ontario
November 14, 2010
Mr. Toby Barrett: To the Minister of the Environment: Ontario Electronic Stewardship has delayed the release of its report by seven months. Once they did release the report, Ontario families learned the bad news; they paid $45 million in eco taxes for televisions and computers that were neither diverted nor recycled. The target for collecting electronics was missed by 59%. You only had 2% of the target for recycling electronics—only 2%, Minister. Why was your response to this abysmal performance merely to send a sternly-worded memo?
Hon. John Wilkinson: I always find it interesting when the party opposite that created the Waste Diversion Act gives us lectures about how it should be applied. On this side of the House, we are keeping hazardous material out of our landfills. That’s exactly why we have a plan to ensure that for all Ontario residents, if you have waste electronics in your House, for free you can take it back and are assured that it will not get into a landfill and that it will be safely reused or recycled. Reuse comes before recycling. I am happy that we have a program that says that if there are waste electronics and they can be reused by our community, that is better than recycling them.
I have said and have written the Ontario Electronic Stewardship and told them that they have shared with me they’ve failed to meet their targets. We expect them to do so. They have diverted in the first year some 17,000 tonnes of hazardous electronic waste and they’ve improved that by some 110% this year, but they need—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?
Mr. Toby Barrett: Minister, this is awkward—2%? I have a goat that could do a better job of recycling than that. Your program for electronics is similar to your eco tax scheme that you surprised Ontario families with the same day you brought out the HST. Just like that program, Ontario families pay, but you aren’t meeting your own environmental targets. In fact, you missed the environmental targets even after you lowered them. Admit it, Minister: This is just another greedy tax grab dressed up in green clothing. What’s your plan, Minister, when you miss your targets next year? Will you send yet another tersely-worded memo, perhaps all in caps?
Hon. John Wilkinson: I find it interesting that this industry-funded program that is run by industry misses their targets—an industry-funded program set up by your previous government—and somehow, it’s our fault.
Here’s what you need to know, because I know you’re the Progressive Conservative environmental critic. There are three Rs—reduce, reuse and recycle—and reuse is better for the environment than recycle. So it is very important that waste electronics, if they can be reused by our community, it’s far better that we do that than recycle.
I have told the Ontario Electronic Stewardship that if they fail to meet their targets—their job is to make sure that they meet those targets, and that’s why I require them now to send me quarterly reports.
I’ve also told them that they need to have a consumer on their board; that is something that when your party created the act, did not think was important. On this side of the House, we—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. New question.