A Call-Out to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne from the Province’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath
Posted March 16th, 2017 on Niagara At Large
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to table her promised hydro bill on Monday, March 20th.
“Premier Wynne, has issued a news release and delivered talking points – now it’s time to deliver a plan,” said Horwath.
“Ontario families, businesses and municipalities have a right to know what will happen to their bills and who will pay the price for $40 billion going to pay interest rather than investing in hospitals, schools, transit and roads.”
Horwath said the media appearances and talking points have raised more questions than answers. There’s confusion throughout the province on whether Wynne’s borrowing deal will help all Ontario businesses, whether there will be any relief on time-of-use premiums or if hospitals, schools and municipal facilities like community rinks will qualify for relief.
Plus, noted Horwath, there have been no details around repayment of interest costs that could amount to as much as $40 billion.
“If Wynne is planning to sign Ontarians on to a $40-billion borrowing deal, she owes us all one heck of an explanation. That’s why I’m calling on her to table a bill Monday – so it can be properly debated by the legislature, by the public, and by experts.”
Horwath is concerned that the Liberals plan on tabling their bill close to the end of the legislative session, undercutting scrutiny and debate. “Kathleen Wynne might think such a strategy will be good for her and the Liberal party but it is yet another affront to the people of Ontario”.
Unlike the Wynne government, Horwath has already publicly released her plan to lower hydro rates by up to 30 per cent. The extensive NDP plan includes immediate bill-cutting measures like scrapping time-of-use premiums and unfair higher delivery charges; and it repairs the hydro system for the long-term by reversing the selloff of Hydro One.
Horwath’s plan will bring an additional $7 billion in dividends to the province – money that can be used in schools and hospitals – while Wynne’s borrowing deal is expected to cost Ontarians as much as $40 billion more in interest payments.
While the Wynne plan appears to benefit bankers most, the Conservatives haven’t provided any sort of a plan at all to deal with sky-high hydro bills.
The Following is from a Separate Statement Released by Niagara, Ontario NDP members Wayne Gates and Cindy Forster
Premier Wynne’s Broken Hydro System Continues To Hurt Niagara Region Businesses – MPPs Forster, Gates
Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates and Welland MPP Cindy Forster are urging Premier Kathleen Wynne to immediately stop the devastating impacts skyrocketing hydro rates are having on local businesses in the Niagara region.
“I’m hearing from small and medium-sized businesses in Welland that are struggling to stay afloat – from restaurants, coffee shops, the Welland Curling Club and even non-profit organizations that our community depends on, like Friends Over 55,” said Forster.
“Everyone is struggling to keep operating costs down because of their hydro bills. Electricity isn’t a luxury and it shouldn’t be priced like one. It’s time for our community to pay less and own more of our hydro system.”
The Ontario NDP’s hydro plan, released by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath at the end of February, would save all Ontario ratepayers as much as 30 per cent on their hydro bills. It includes returning Hydro One to public hands, an end to the practice of paying for electricity Ontario doesn’t need, and an immediate review and renegotiation of bad private power contracts signed by Liberal and Conservative governments. It will result in immediate savings through changes like the elimination of time-of-use premiums and hiked rural delivery rates.
Meanwhile, it’s not clear whether the Wynne government’s expensive borrowing scheme will help businesses at all.
“Just this week, I had a local business from Fort Erie contact my office with a $12,000 hydro bill—rates that are just not sustainable for businesses,” said Gates. “If our broken hydro system isn’t fixed, we’re certainly going to lose jobs in Niagara.”
The Wynne government introduced a borrowing scheme last week that would see about $40 billion in interest costs over the next 30 years in order to finance a hydro bill subsidy for some. The slapdash plan fails to fix the root causes of high hydro bills and instead puts even more money in the pockets of bankers – with families and local businesses paying that $40 billion price tag, one way or another.
Wynne hasn’t released anything on paper – and it looks like businesses may be on the hook to help with interest payments, but may not benefit much at all from any relief the short-term loan scheme buys.
“The Wynne government seems to be writing this plan on the back of a napkin, and making it up as they go along. They’ve completely failed to explain if businesses will see any relief,” said Gates. “The NDP has definitely put out a much more concrete and appropriate plan to address Ontario’s hydro crisis.”
Forster said the choice couldn’t be more clear.
“We can’t allow the Wynne government to do more damage by prolonging our debt payments, giving away billions to bankers in extra interest payments, and not actually addressing the root causes of skyrocketing hydro bills,” said Forster.
“It’s time to bring Hydro One back in public hands, address our over-supply issues, renegotiate the terrible private power contracts and actually start lowering rates for businesses and for all Ontarians.”
NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.
A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.
For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater binational Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .
“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders