‘Big mes­sage’ rolls into Point Ed­ward

The Observer (Sarnia) - - FRONT PAGE - NEIL BOWEN

A van claim­ing to be from the Kath­leen Wynne Mov­ing Com­pany rolled into the Point Ed­ward water­front Thurs­day, protest­ing the premier’s poli­cies.

High elec­tric­ity costs, rapid in­creases to the min­i­mum wage and un­fair govern­ment sub­si­dies are caus­ing busi­nesses and peo­ple to leave On­tario, says the Cana­dian Tax­pay­ers Fed­er­a­tion, cre­ators of the van.

On­tario in­creased the gen­eral min­i­mum wage to $11.60 on Oct. 1. The wage will in­crease to $14 on Jan. 1 and to $15 on Jan­uary 1, 2019, which will be fol­lowed by an­nual in­creases at the rate of in­fla­tion.

“Some­times you can at­tract at­ten­tion through satire more pow­er­fully,” said Chris­tine Van Geyn, the fed­er­a­tion’s On­tario di­rec­tor.

Peo­ple are re­spond­ing to the van’s mes­sage. Even as it is be­ing driven along high­ways, there is ap­proval with driv­ers honk­ing their horns.

“It’s a big sharp mes­sage,” said Van Geyn.

Van Geyn has been trav­el­ing with the van for the past two weeks. The cam­paign will end Mon­day with the van’s ap­pear­ance at Queen’s Park. Point Ed­ward was the 13th stop.

The cam­paign was prompted by the “painful ex­pe­ri­ence” of watch­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs be­ing lost reg­u­larly, said Van Geyn.

Among the group of 10 or 15 peo­ple gath­ered on the cool water­front at 9 a.m., there was be­lief in the fed­er­a­tion mes­sage.

“Peo­ple are leav­ing,” said Pat Smith.

An­other wo­man, who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied, said she is not po­lit­i­cally ac­tive but came to sup­port the cam­paign. Wynne is try­ing to trick ev­ery­one lead­ing to an elec­tion with a drop in elec­tric­ity prices that only de­lays the in­creased cost, she said.

In June, Wynne com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing elec­tric­ity bills by 25 per cent on av­er­age for house­holds across the prov­ince.

The cam­paign is not aimed at de­feat­ing Wynne in the 2018 pro­vin­cial elec­tion as the fed­er­a­tion is non­par­ti­san. It is aimed at all par­ties, said Van Geyn.

But if Wynne de­cides to­mor­row to change and de­velop poli­cies that help On­tario “that’s great,” said Van Geyn.

NEIL BOWEN/THE

Chris­tine Van Geyn of the Cana­dian Tax­pay­ers Fed­er­a­tion stands per­plexed by Premier Kath­leen Wynne’s poli­cies that the fed­er­a­tion as­serts are mov­ing busi­nesses out of On­tario.

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