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Premier Wynne Hasn't Learned From Her Hydro Disaster Mistake

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KATHLEEN WYNNE
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Famous Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote in the literary classic Anne of Avonlea that "we should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us." It's a sage piece of advice for anyone. Don't allow your mistakes to cripple you, but show remorse and don't repeat them.

It's some advice that our premier would be wise to follow.

At the Ontario Liberal annual general meeting in Ottawa, Premier Wynne said the high hydro rates in the province are her and her government's "mistake." She told the party faithful "our government made a mistake. It was my mistake. And I'm going to do my best to fix it."

While the premier is at long last acknowledging that hydro rates are a problem -- after her minister of energy denied there was a "crisis" and her minister of finance claimed his hydro bill was going down -- she remains committed to policies that will continue to make life more expensive in Ontario, like her cap-and-trade tax on home heating fuels and gasoline.

So much for learning from mistakes.

Cap and trade is going to do exactly to our heating bills what the Green Energy Act did to our hydro bills.

When the Green Energy Act was first passed, Premier Dalton McGuinty told ratepayers our bills would go up by 46 per cent -- worth it, he claimed.

Like her predecessor, Kathleen Wynne is telling families in Ontario that the cap and trade tax increase to our home heating and gas bills will be small.

What we learned from the experience with the great green energy experiment is that rates rose far and above what McGuinty predicted. Instead of a 46 per cent increase, we saw an average 89 per cent hike, with off peak rates up 102 per cent.

And that was just the increase to rates -- the global adjustment rose a dramatic 219 per cent since 2010.

For some consumers, it now makes up as much or more than the cost of the actual electricity.

With the benefit of hindsight, Wynne now says that this whole thing was a "mistake," yet it's a mistake she's keen on repeating.

Just like McGuinty did, Premier Wynne is lowballing the cost of her cap and trade tax, and selling the public an expensive policy we don't need and that will achieve nothing. While the premier claims that cap and trade will cost the average Ontario household $156 per year, that estimate is based on increases to home heating bills alone.

Of course, the cost of cap and trade doesn't end there. Cap and trade will also add to the cost of gasoline at the pumps, and to the cost of all goods manufactured or transported within the province.

A report by Stikeman Elliott estimates that the policy will cost small manufacturers $136,000 in the first year. By 2030, the tax will cost each large participant at least $2 million. This cost will certainly be passed down to Ontario consumers, either in the form of higher prices or lost jobs.

The premier may finally be able to recognize her mistakes with hydro rates, now that thousands of suffering Ontario families are screaming about it. But apparently, she isn't able to recognize the mistake she's currently in the process of making with cap and trade. Count that as a lesson not learned.

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