Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was booed during the International Plowing Match in Minto, Ont., after speaking about her government’s efforts to lower rising hydro rates across the province.
In Wynne’s speech during the opening ceremonies Tuesday, she mentioned her government’s work to reduce hydro rates and was met with boos from the crowd and a woman who shouted, “Liar!”
“It’s very important that we understand that things like electricity costs — and we are working to bring those electricity costs down …” Wynne said, before she was interrupted by the crowd member and a smattering of boos and applause.
“I know, I know. I hear a mixed response to that.”
After losing a byelection in east Toronto earlier this month, Wynne acknowledged growing anger in the province over rising hydro rates and soon after announced an eight-per-cent rebate on electricity bills and additional measures for rural and industrial customers.
WATCH: Kathleen Wynne gets harsh welcome in rural Ontario
Wynne said Tuesday that those booing perhaps hadn’t yet heard about the new measures she had announced.
“I haven’t had a chance to speak to every one of those people in the crowd,” she said.
“I think that there are people who don’t yet know whether they’re going to qualify, whether they will get the reduction we talked about or they may not know that they may be eligible for a 20-per-cent reduction.”
The rebate, which will cost taxpayers about $1 billion a year, is expected to save the typical Ontario household about $130 a year, and the government projects additional savings of about $540 a year for rural electricity customers.
The change in rhetoric from the Wynne government follows extensive reporting by Global News on the skyrocketing electricity rates in Ontario and the financial toll it’s having on rural residents in the province, which many have described as a crisis.
Progressive Conservative party leader Patrick Brown and New Democrat leader Andrea Horwath were also in attendance for the the annual two-day agricultural event with MPPs from across the province Tuesday, which also cancelled two days of sitting in the Ontario legislature.
With files from The Canadian Press
WATCH: Kathleen Wynne responds to Global News questions surrounding efficacy of proposed hydro rebate