Sometimes in the world of public policy, Ontario feels like another planet. Up is down, black is white, and now the governing party is petitioning itself against its own policies.
The Ontario Liberal Party has launched a new petition for lower hydro bills.
Without an ounce of self-awareness, the party that for over a decade has bungled Ontario's electricity policy, resulting in the fastest growing rates in North America, is petitioning itself against the high rates for which they are responsible.
The Liberal's anti-Liberal petition is clearly a public relations move, albeit a strange one.
Perhaps the Liberals have noticed the tens of thousands of signatures on other petitions protesting the high hydro rates they caused. Googling hydro rate petitions will yield the existing province-wide petition launched by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and countless local petitions to municipalities. Perhaps Premier Wynne just wants to join in on the fun by launching her own hydro rate petition, since they're proving so popular.
Since the Liberals are now in the business of protesting their own government's policies, there are a few others they could add to the list.
First, they could protest the procurement of new electrical generation, which is leading to sky high rates. This would be more effective than cutting HST off of hydro bills that grow at an average rate of 8 per cent a year. Any savings from that cut will be immediately overtaken by rate hikes.
They could also launch a petition to stop the new cap-and-trade tax on home heating and gasoline, which is going to take effect the same day as the hydro HST rebate, and will cost you more than the rebate will save you. The government predicts the HST rebate will save you about $130, while the new tax on home heating and gasoline will cost you between $156 and $387. The Liberals will be happy to know that petitions against this new tax are already quite popular, with thousands of signatures on the petition launched by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Or the Liberals could consider a petition to end the government's plan to subsidize the Liberal party with millions of dollars of taxpayer money, or to stop adding to the province's massive $300 billion debt. The Liberals could even petition themselves to reverse her recent tax hikes on beer and wine.
What is frustrating though, for the thousands of Ontarians who have signed petitions asking the Premier for change, is that she's now clearly getting the message. She's aware that there is a problem - so aware that her party actually launched her own version of petitions that already exist.
So if Wynne is aware of the message being given to her by thousands of Ontarians, and she is even asking herself to take action, why isn't she actually doing anything? After all, she has a majority government, and the power to make changes that could make our lives more affordable.
Premier Wynne should listen to her own advice, and make real changes to make life affordable again.
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