Patrick Brown, leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party, is calling upon energy minister Glenn Thibeault to resign over what he describes as the complete mismanagement of the province’s hydro utility.
“Glenn Thibeault has a choice to make,” said Brown. “He can either continue to support Kathleen Wynne’s policies of skyrocketing hydro bills, or he can stand up for his constituents. Ultimately, I hope he’ll do the right thing.”
Responding to claims Thibeault made last week that rising energy prices in rural Ontario are not a crisis, Brown said both Thibeault and Wynne are obviously out of touch and have not spent much time speaking with rural Ontarians.
“It’s not affordable. It’s the number one issue I hear about in rural Ontario,” said Brown. “People right now are being forced to choose between heating and eating, and that’s not acceptable.”
Brown also points to the fact that the Liberal government continues to push ahead with its green energy policy despite the fact that Ontario Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, authored a 2014 report slamming the government for its mishandling of the energy sector and for imposing rate decisions that resulted in billions of dollars in overpayments for Ontario hydro customers.
“The fact that Glenn Thibeault and the Liberal government have continued to sign renewable contracts for energy we don’t need is beyond comprehension,” said Brown. “He’s selling out northern Ontario by agreeing to these policies that disproportionately hurt the north, and that disproportionately hurt rural Ontario.”
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Brown says that during Wynne’s tenure as premier hydro rates in rural Ontario have more than doubled. And with steep delivery charges, administration fees, the global adjustment fee and HST, many residents in rural Ontario are now paying thousands more each year.
“Even by the government’s own estimates we’re going to see it go up another 42 per cent,” said Brown. “People cannot afford that.”
Brown says rising hydro rates are also impacting small businesses across the province. He feels that if something isn’t done soon to lessen the burden, high energy prices could cause an exodus of business from rural Ontario.
“I can’t recruit business to Ontario if we have energy rates that are the worst in North America,” said Brown. “We have to have competitive energy prices if we want to see a resurgent Ontario.”