Ontario’s whimsical energy policy

By MPP Toby Barrett

Sometimes I wonder if Premier Wynne and her cabinet ministers live in the same Ontario we do. As electricity bills continue to climb to absurd levels, we hear more outlandish energy ideas from this government – a government that seems to float policy fit only for fantasy.

The Ontario government’s draft climate plan is a direct attack on the finances of Ontario families and businesses. The leaked climate plan was to cost taxpayers $7 billion, but last week we learned that the plan is closer to $8.3 billion.

This draft plan includes a commitment to phase out natural gas heating in homes by 2030. According to Natural Resources Canada, the average net-zero home costs $150,000 more than the average home, and to heat that home is an additional $3,000 every year.

“It is practically impossible to heat your home with natural gas and be net zero on emissions – unless you live in the base of a wind turbine,” Opposition Leader Patrick Brown explained to the Legislature last week.

Electricity rates rose again May 1st. The on-peak rate is now 18 cents per kWh – a far cry from the 4.3 cents when the Liberals came to power in 2003. Can anyone think of any other bill or household cost that has risen higher and faster than electricity? I can’t.

According to an analysis done by the Toronto Sun, Ontario’s hydro rates have climbed faster than not only every province in Canada, but also faster than all 50 U.S. States. In just eight years, we have paid an extra $37 billion more than we should have for electricity.

The auditor also found Ontario is paying twice as much for wind power as American utilities, three and a half times as much for solar power. And, believe it or not, there is a biomass plant in Thunder Bay producing electricity at 25 times the average Ontario price.

It’s no secret the industrial wind turbines dotting Ontario’s landscape are paybacks to Liberal insiders and so-called environmentalists. Not only did government line pockets but they mandated these unwanted behemoths on rural communities.

By the time the next provincial election rolls around in 2018, the Premier will have sold off 60 per cent of Hydro One.  Past performance is the best predictor of future performance and that’s why nobody believes this government when they say the sell-off will lower our bills! It’s a fire sale because Wynne has run Ontario into the ground.  Selling Hydro One could cost upwards to $700 million in lost revenue annually.

Has the Minister thought about how many buildings there are, and has the Minister driven in rural Ontario where electric cars just won’t fly! Further, if natural gas was phased out where would the additional electricity capacity come from? It won’t be from the infamous wind turbines operating at 20 to 30 per cent. Electricity is already unaffordable for most and many have turned to natural gas – the Premier’s response is to jack up gas prices and then phase it out.

This government has to stop living in fantasyland. I support a practical and realistic plan to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment but will also help to grow our economy, keep hydro bills down, and put money back in taxpayers’ pockets.