Tax­pay­ers on hook for Lib­eral mis­takes

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In Septem­ber, the NDP got its hands on and re­leased in­ter­nal gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments show­ing that Premier Kath­leen Wynne’s Lib­eral gov­ern­ment is on a $5.5-mil­lion spend­ing spree for ads pro­mot­ing its hy­dro-bor­row­ing scheme.

The doc­u­ments show that those mil­lions — money that be­longs to the peo­ple of On­tario — are be­ing spent to counter neg­a­tive me­dia cov­er­age of sky­rock­et­ing hy­dro bills.

These ads are only the lat­est bad news in the on­go­ing hy­dro mess in On­tario.

Wynne has been reck­lessly pri­va­tiz­ing our hy­dro sys­­spite hear­ing story af­ter story about what that’s do­ing to fam­i­lies, she ploughed ahead, sell­ing off more than half of Hy­dro One.

Par­ents are be­ing forced to choose be­tween pay­ing the elec­tric­ity bill, or buy­ing gro­ceries; busi­nesses are shut­ting down; se­niors liv­ing on pen­sions are be­ing forced from their homes be­cause the bills be­came too much for their fixed­in­comes to bear.

In­stead of fix­ing the prob­lem they cre­ated that’s hurt­ing On­tar­i­ans, Wynne and her gov­ern­ment de­cided to wage an ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign to ar­gue that hy­dro bills are not a prob­lem.

As they scram­bled for a good-news story, the Lib­er­als de­cided to bor­row bil­lions of dol­lars to tem­po­rar­ily sub­si­dize hy­dro bills, hop­ing that would im­prove her elec­tion chances. The Fi­nan­cial Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fi­cer said Wynne’s scheme will cost us more than $40 bil­lion. The au­di­tor gen­eral re­vealed that we’re pay­ing $4 bil­lion ex­tra just in higher in­ter­est rates be­cause Wynne is us­ing a smoke-and-mir­rors scheme to hide the debt she’s rack­ing up.

All in all, Wynne is adding tens of bil­lions of dol­lars more to the hy­dro bills of On­tario fam­i­lies and busi­nesses, all be­cause she thinks it might im­prove her elec­tion prospects.

Of course, Wynne’s $5.5-mil­lion ads don’t talk about the bil­lions of dol­lars in in­ter­est pay­ments. And Wynne’s ads don’t talk about the bil­lions of dol­lars On­tario fam­i­lies and busi­nesses will be pay­ing back for the next 30 years. And Wynne’s ads don’t say a word about why hy­dro rates have gone up 300% in a decade and 50% just since she be­came premier — be­cause of her reck­less sell-off of Hy­dro One.

With Wynne at the helm, the pro­grams and ser­vices we count on, things like hos­pi­tals and schools, have been un­der­funded and cut. The cost of liv­ing — es­pe­cially our hy­dro bills — have been jacked up. It’s no won­der fam­i­lies are feel­ing squeezed.

I be­lieve On­tar­i­ans are ready for a change.

But the ques­tion peo­ple are ask­ing is: “What comes next?”

PC Leader Pa­trick Brown and his MPPS won’t tell us what their plans are, but we know where they stand. The PC hy­dro critic has even told the me­dia they’d be keep­ing Wynne’s pri­va­tized, pricey hy­dro scheme in place.

And Brown has no plan to re­duce your hy­dro bills.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I have a plan that will cut bills by 30% and elim­i­nate manda­tory time-of-use billing, which hurts busi­nesses, young fam­i­lies and se­niors. With my plan, Hy­dro One will be back in pub­lic hands, giv­ing On­tario con­trol over hy­dro prices again.

The NDP will make it eas­ier for ev­ery fam­ily to get caught up, and fi­nally get ahead.

Wynne and her Lib­eral gov­ern­ment have to go.

But it’s not enough to just vote against Wynne. On­tar­i­ans will de­cide what kind of premier comes next. They can choose a leader with no plan, one pre­pared to keep sup­port­ing Wynne’s hy­dro scheme even af­ter she’s gone. Or they can choose a leader with a plan that will make life bet­ter for fam­i­lies.

Hor­wath is the leader of On­tario’s NDP

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