Windsor Star

Tories vow to move on three targets in summer session

Cap-and-trade, wind farm project and York University strike top the agenda


Scrapping cap-andtrade, ending the York University strike and cancelling a controvers­ial wind farm project will be priorities for the new Progressiv­e Conservati­ve government when the Ontario legislatur­e resumes this week for a rare summer session.

Progressiv­e Conservati­ve house leader Todd Smith says the government will act quickly on all three items because they are time sensitive and cannot wait until the fall, when the house normally returns. This will be the first sitting of the new government led by Doug Ford, whose Tories won a large majority of seats in the spring election. “The people of Ontario can’t afford to wait,” Smith said. “They won’t have to wait. We’re prepared to act and we’re prepared to act now.”

Government legislatio­n to scrap the cap-and-trade system will be tabled and will also prevent a future government from imposing a carbon price in Ontario, Smith said, but didn’t elaborate on how that would be accomplish­ed. “We will strike the Liberal capand-trade tax law from the books and repeal any legislatio­n that would enable a future government to impose a cap-and-trade carbon tax,” he said.

The Tories will also move to end the strike at York University that has been underway since March by introducin­g back-to-work legislatio­n.

“Our students are not bargaining chips,” he said. “Their futures should not be held for ransom. We intend to use legislativ­e tools to ensure that the interests of the students and their families come first and the students can get back to class for this fall.”

Smith said the Tories will also cancel the White Pines Wind Project in eastern Ontario.

The project received notice to proceed during the election period and work has been ongoing at the site.

A local group, the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County, opposed the project, saying it believed it would be detrimenta­l to the “unique historical, agricultur­al, cultural and rural character” of the region.

“You can also expect us to act to ensure that going forward local communitie­s are better protected from having these kinds of projects imposed on them against their will,” Smith said.

Smith was asked about other promises made during the campaign like Ford’s pledge to fire the CEO of Hydro One, repeal the sex ed curriculum and open up access to beer and wine in corner stores. The government will address those issues at a later date, he said. “These three priorities send a clear, serious message about what you can expect from a Doug Ford PC government,” he said. “We’re going to keep our promises. We’re prepared to act.”

Smith also denied opposition accusation­s that the government has been inaccessib­le and making too many decisions quietly behind closed doors with Ford himself shying away from taking questions from media. “Absolutely not, I’m here today, I’m taking questions,” he said. “You can clearly see that Doug Ford in the earlier days of his premiershi­p has gotten down to business. We’ve been checking off all kinds of different priorities that we had promised to do during the election campaign.”

NDP legislator Peter Tabuns said even in the early days of the new Tory government they ’re not being open about their work.

“I had difficulty getting into this media conference in the first place,” Tabuns said. “I was told I wasn’t welcome. I was given one exemption. That’s consistent with an approach that’s closed, that isn’t open to the public, isn’t open to the people.”

Tabuns said it’s unlikely the NDP will support any of the bills the government will put forward during the short session including back-to-work legislatio­n to end the York strike and repealing cap-andtrade laws.

We’re prepared to act and we’re prepared to act now.

 ?? ANTONELLA ARTUSO ?? PC Government House Leader Todd Smith announces his party’s legislativ­e priorities in the upcoming session. “We’re going to keep our promises,” he said.
ANTONELLA ARTUSO PC Government House Leader Todd Smith announces his party’s legislativ­e priorities in the upcoming session. “We’re going to keep our promises,” he said.

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