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2014-05-12 at NOON

Energy plan revealed

Aaron, Cale and Jeff Caldwell pose with Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath (second from left) outside their home on Monday.
Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
Aaron, Cale and Jeff Caldwell pose with Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath (second from left) outside their home on Monday.
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By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- The NDP Monday revealed a campaign pledge to lower hydro bills across the province, but the HST-slashing plan won’t amount to cash savings for homeowners for about two years. 

New Democrat party leader Andrea Horwath held her second campaign stop in the city in as many days, announcing that if elected her party would remove the provincial portion of the HST from hydro bills starting in 2016.

“We have consistently been of the opinion that the HST does not belong on electricity bills, that people’s bills are going up constantly and we need to see some relief for families,” she said.

The initiative, which Horwath says will save the average Ontario family about $120 per year, was also announced during the 2011 campaign.

Horwath held the Monday morning announcement in the living room of Northwood resident and NDP supporter Jeff Caldwell.

Caldwell, 54, is the father to two teenage sons and says the recent harsh winter has resulted in hefty bi-monthly bills where the tax hit is felt.

“The most recent bill I got was $135 and $17 of that is HST. Prior to that the previous bill was $150,” he said.

Prior to the HST being added in 2010, Caldwell said he was paying in the vicinity of $100 per bill.

Thunder Bay-Atikokan NDP candidate Mary Kozorys said many of the people she has encountered in the early stages of the campaign have been vocal about how the cost of energy can be brought down.

“I think it’s a very practical approach. One of the first steps we can implement is taking the HST off hydro bills,” Kozorys said. “This is what I’m hearing every day on the doorstep, how can government make life more affordable.”

Taking the eight per cent tax off the bills is just a starting point in the party’s plan to bring down electricity bills the NDP claim are among the highest in Canada. The Liberal government has admitted ratepayers will see an increase of 33 per cent in the next three years.

Horwath acknowledged there is a lot more work and measures required to lower hydro rates across the province. She said the party is committed to consolidating agencies, capping executive salaries, ensuring exported energy is not subsidized and ordering a review of private power contracts by the Auditor General.

“It’s a start to get the bills down a bit. We’d like to make some efforts to try to get the rates under control themselves. We don’t believe it’s inevitable for those rates to go up 42 per cent so we’ve unveiled a plan to get those rates under control,” Horwath said.

“I think we’re the only party bringing forth a number of new ideas on how we get those electricity rates under control here in Ontario.”

Horwath took issue with the Liberals’ Green Energy Act, saying the legislation was “fumbled seriously” when it was enacted and that it puts neighbouring communities in direct competition with one another.

However, she said she did not agree with tearing up existing contracts and subsidies. She explicitly ruled out building any new nuclear power plants.

Earlier Monday, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak announced a portion of his party’s energy platform to stabilize electricity rates.

Hudak proposes removing subsidies for wind and solar power and instead replacing them with investments in nuclear, natural gas and hydro power. It also intends to make it easier for Ontario to import energy from neighbouring provinces and the United States.

When asked about the possibility of a leaders’ debate being held in the city, Horwath answered she is not aware of a date being set at this point. She did say she was unsure if her team had made any proactive efforts to set up such a forum.

More than two weeks ago before the election was called, Premier Kathleen Wynne issued a challenge to Horwath and Hudak to hold a northern leaders’ debate.

“We’re happy to take on those debates at any time,” Horwath said.

Horwath and Hudak staged a debate in Thunder Bay during the last provincial election, with then-Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty absent.

The NDP leader is scheduled to make another announcement Monday afternoon in Sudbury.


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Comments

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westfort resident says:
Andrea: Your party's campaign promises have to go much, much further to give a Northerner like me an incentive to consider giving you my vote.

Remove the provincial portion of HST on electricity and essential heating fuels such as wood, pellets, propane, natural gas and oil.

And abolish the hydro Debt Retirement charge on our electricity bills. Ontario taxpayers have been extorted far too long due to that fiasco.
5/12/2014 12:37:26 PM
tsb says:
Further? You mean full blown communism?
5/12/2014 5:36:34 PM
S Duncan says:
that's what the NDP is already, they just hide it under a different colour and name to make the weak minded supporters feel better.

If they actually called themselves communists they wouldn't get any votes, but they call themselves democratic and use orange instead of red and presto! all the uninformed people vote for them, or the liberals who are far from liberal as well.
5/13/2014 8:46:17 AM
Tiredofit says:
A cut is nice, but you need to make it up by raising or cutting something of equal value. How about we start by cutting the MPP's salary but 25-30%. Let's get some politicians in who do it for the good of the province and not just their little friends. Professional politicians have to go. Enact term limits, remove golden pensions and or retirement plans they get. The list goes on and on.....

Never mind cutting the current employees, how about they (the politicians) should do an under cover boss type of thing, determine which jobs need to go, or slacker employees who always hid behind the union shield! You don't just slash and burn without looking at the entire picture.

Start getting rid of the outsourcing that's costing us 2-3x the original rate. Etcetera........
5/12/2014 1:55:11 PM
The Critic says:
Unless the solar/wind contracts are cancelled our electricity prices will continue to spiral out of control. As the price of electricity goes up, the heavy industry which can actually manage to stay competitive in this province will begin relying more and more on their own private generation rather than paying market prices - shifting the burden for these long term contracts further to small business/homeowners.

Wind in Ontario is a sham - initial studies were based purely on European wind data. On the shores of the great lakes, the wind primarily blows in the winter and at night - the times when power is needed on the grid least. Now we are stuck with 20 year contracts to buy energy whether it is needed or not at prices far beyond reasonable, while our hydroelectric stations spill water and nuclear stations (Bruce Power) vent steam when there is too much solar/wind that has to be paid for. But hey at least it made "green jobs" while the new plants were being constructed.
5/12/2014 2:19:55 PM
conker2012 says:
It is nice to see the NDP plan on removing the HST on electricity bills, but where will this lost revenue be made up? Our income tax? Corporate taxes that will kill business? Where will this come from?
5/12/2014 2:23:42 PM
yqtyqt says:
That's a valid comment. The provincial government has to pick one of our pockets to make up the money they've squandered on the energy policies.

But the problem is on the expenditure side. Do we need so many highly paid hydro employees. Do we need the inefficient green energy policies. Do we need gas plant cancellations.

Do we need the liberals to run this province.
5/12/2014 4:24:01 PM
tiredofit says:
It won't be from Corporate Taxes, Hudak will be reducing those by 30%... then he's going to put everything back onto the cities... reduce Education and everything else (except Medical apparently).
5/12/2014 8:48:02 PM
S Duncan says:
Corporations and businesses don't pay taxes. Those taxes are passed down to their customers, which means you and me.

So when corporate taxes go up, so do prices and you lose your purchasing power. It also makes businesses in Ontario less competitive with provinces that pay less taxes and lesser energy costs.

If we save money through competition that puts more money in our pockets. Instead of trying to tax your way into prosperity, you need to realize that it cant happen that way.

PCs have the right idea because the lefty approach has done nothing but destroy business. Look at the last 10 years for proof of it.
5/12/2014 10:31:21 PM
fastball says:
And the Cons will send all our natural resources off to China so we can buy them back at inflated prices - while they destroy the land.
The Cons allow Big Business to bring over foreign workers to take Canadian jobs - and legitimize 21st century slavery.
The Cons will bend over backwards for their Big Business pals - while expecting the average working man to bend over forwards.
5/13/2014 9:09:20 AM
Eastender says:
Conker: the answer to your question is-avoid foolishly blowing money, like E-health, Ornge, green energy, cancelled gas plants. Savings there alone would have made up the difference for not only a cut to the hydro HST, but probably the HST on heating bills also.

Politicans are a lot like car mechanics. I would rather deal with an honest one in his backyard garage, than a slick one with a million dollar building, and a neon sign. Guess which one Wynne runs! Oh and you know who paid for the sign, eh?
Nooooooooobody wants Hudak.
So where you gonna take your car?
5/13/2014 9:15:24 AM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
For the first time since having the right to vote, I truly don't know who to vote for. Some 30 years. The conservatives never get my vote. I'm to smart for their B.S. and have too low of an income. The liberals, well you never know which way their B.S. will go. And there is left, Mr. Foulds and the NDP. After witnessing is conduct on council, I can't waste my vote on him. Better a blank ballot then any of the above.
5/12/2014 2:34:18 PM
tsb says:
Now you get it!

Last election, I declined my ballot. I will probably do the same this year.
5/12/2014 5:43:26 PM
Shillelagh says:
Slashing the HST on a already over priced / inflated service is not a viable solution - especially since the homeowner will not see a difference for roughly two years!
5/12/2014 2:36:27 PM
mikethunderbay says:
This was something Ms. Horwath put in her platform in 2011, did anyone ask her why she didn't talk about it or demand it during budget negotiations with the Liberals on the two budgets she voted in favor of??? She comes here with platform pieces she knows will be popular in northern ontario knowing full well she has no chance at forming a government. Can someone in the media as her that question??? Why didnt she make this part of her budget demands. She also always complained about the Ring of Fire while the Liberals said they were negotiating with First Nations and once an agreement was made they would make the investment. How come she never made the ring of fire a demand in order to pass the budget?? Someone in the media please call her on all of this. We have never seen more investment in northern ontario than we have with this liberal government, I for one hope it continues.
5/12/2014 3:29:45 PM
yqtyqt says:
Any attempt to reduce the cost of energy would be appreciated. Anything is better than we have today. The assault on the hard earned dollars that Ontarians have must stop somewhere. But worse still, our children and grandchildren will pay for poor energy policies and the vote buying schemes of our current liberal government.

We have extremely high hydro rates compared to other government jurisdictions in north America. If you think that fact has no impact on jobs and manufacturing, you're completely out to lunch.

Don't believe the fools who are claiming that hydro rates haven't increased. The provincial budget proposed by the liberals would cancel the 10% rebate we enjoy, rather than cut hydro executive hydro wages.
5/12/2014 5:05:21 PM
CommonSensible says:
Predictable from reaction from this group. Andrea and the NDP are CUTTING TAXES and people here are grumping?! You'd think she was raising them! As for costing...the NDP will release the numbers when the other parties do...in their full platform when they it is released in the coming weeks. Lower hydro rates. Honest government. Smart spending. And no idiotic BILLION JOBS PLANS to take people for fools. I like what I am hearing from Andrea and the NDP. Change is in the air folks.
5/12/2014 5:07:55 PM
S Duncan says:
I would like a policy on getting to the bottom of the liberal fraud scandals that cost us billions of dollars. I want accountability, because if we don't right our past wrongs, all we will get is future wrongs.

Thankfully Hudak is going to win and go after these greasy liberals.
5/12/2014 5:17:35 PM
tsb says:
You guys are lucky. I pay $125 EVERY month. And a 5% property tax rate. At least I live in Ontario, which has the lowest income tax rate for my income bracket!
5/12/2014 5:41:47 PM
jimmyboy says:
and just how far does she figure $120.00 in savings will go these days...???
5/12/2014 6:00:09 PM
eventscentre says:
Wow a 120 dollar savings....now I can buy premium cat food for fluffy
5/12/2014 9:27:29 PM
beached says:
I am curious if the NDP got power again, would the businesses give them the same treatment as the last time. Increase interest rates, boycott Ontario, make their life a living nightmare without consensus or support... It wasn't pretty.
5/12/2014 9:32:00 PM
Lykarock says:
I always find it funny when a political party promises to cut something TWO YEARS DOWN THE ROAD " ? Are you joking? If it is so important to get votes, cut it immediately. I didn't think so.. All the posturing in the world will not give the NDP a majority. They would've been better off asking for a few extras in the Liberal budget instead of calling an election. Hudak will cut and slash just like Mike Harris did. Harris declared war on teachers and Hudak,is promising a million new job, ( no idea where). And then to appease his cronies in the Corporate world he decides he will eliminate 100,000 jobs. Really? It always amazes me that politicians can't seem to think past their last sentence on a tele prompter. Hudak originally touted 300,000 new jobs just three months ago when he introduced the first local candidates. Now its create a million jobs and cut 100,000. I don't think he knows what he is doing..
5/14/2014 4:43:32 AM
tudor says:
It appears that only the NDP can get this much coverage over an energy plan that is so ridiculous.

Apparently many other on this site see this plan as almost nothing. I am surprised that Matt Vis did not ask why would we have to wait two years to see this take place when it is such a small amount of money.

I am opening up a restaurant around the corner.

Pay me now for your meal and I promise you that in two years I will provide you with a hamburger and fries.

That is restaurant service, NDP style.
5/14/2014 6:29:28 AM
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