Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announces Ontario's Five Year Climate Action Plan with at Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto, ON June 8, 2016. (Photo: Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Premier Kathleen Wynne is worried about what she calls "very bad actors" in Ontario.
While defending her government's new tax on home heating fuels and gasoline, the premier said that the new tax is necessary because Ontarians are "very bad actors in terms of our per capita emissions." That's right, the new tax on keeping your family warm in the winter and on your daily commute to work is because Ontarians are "bad actors."
Forget about the fact that colder climates and countries with broad and expansive geography will naturally have higher per capita emissions. We can't change the very nature of our country. The real question is why per capita emissions are an issue.
In total, Canada contributes about 1.65 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. If we each reduced our per capita emissions, it would achieve absolutely nothing for global emissions, and at tremendous cost.
Premier Kathleen Wynne after announcing Ontario's Five Year Climate Action Plan with Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, Brad Duguid (L) and Environment Minister and Climate Change Glen Murray. (Photo: Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Even if the entire Canadian economy shut down, global emissions would still continue to climb. When politicians are willing to impose a massive new tax for zero practical benefit we should ask why.
The answer is obvious: $2 billion a year in revenue from the new tax for Kathleen Wynne and her government to spend.
When Ontario's premier talks about bad actors, it's without a hint of irony. Her government spent $308 million on a cancelled modernization of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, $70 million on the cancelled Ontario Retirement Pension Plan and $1 billion on cancelled gas plants. Spending $1.37 billion on nothing? How's that for "bad actors?"
Or what about the way Wynne's pay-for-play government sells access to cabinet ministers or hands out corporate grants to their biggest donors? Cabinet ministers had $500,000 fundraising goals, which involved events like the $7,500 per person fundraiser promoted by one of the banks that underwrote the lucrative sale of Hydro One. The government has also given lucrative contracts to those who donate or have cozy ties to the premier.
While we tighten our belts, her government has seen a virtual buffet of waste -- and then she tells us that we're the reckless ones.
For example, Wynne handed out $163 million to the Liberal Party's biggest corporate donor, GreenField Group; she gave $2.7 million of taxpayer money in polling contracts to her own campaign manager; and she gave teachers unions $2.5 million to pay for the union's costs of bargaining. But Ontario families who want to drive their kids to hockey practice are the "bad actors."
And of course, there's what Kathleen Wynne has done to our electricity bills. Ontarians now pay some of the highest bills in North America, and our bills have grown 60 per cent faster than the rest of Canada.
This is because Ontario signed long contracts for wind and solar generation that have us paying above market rates. Ontario consumers overpaid for renewable power by $37 billion between 2006 and 2014, and by 2032 we will overpay by an additional $133 billion. Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty created this boondoggle, but tell the families that bear this cost they are the "bad actors."
The truth is that Kathleen Wynne has mismanaged the economy, the electricity system, the provincial budget and can't afford to keep the government running. While we tighten our belts, her government has seen a virtual buffet of waste -- and then she tells us that we're the reckless ones. If Kathleen Wynne is looking for "bad actors," she has to do nothing more than look in the mirror.
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