Tories vow to move on three tar­gets in sum­mer ses­sion

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

Windsor Star - - CITY + REGION -

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.

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