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Ontario families are facing an affordability crisis

(July 27, 2017) - Fourteen years of Liberal mismanagement have left families in this province facing a financial squeeze that threatens their future economic prospects. The Wynne Liberals have driven up costs for families with their pursuit of a reckless political agenda that has forced costs for everyday people higher and damaged the economy.

While families struggle to make ends meet, the Wynne government has driven up the cost of just about everything in Ontario with its disastrous energy policies. The Liberals have handed out unaffordable contracts to wind and solar energy firms, which have driven electricity costs through the roof.

When I speak with my constituents and business owners in Simcoe-Grey, one of their top concerns is their increasing Hydro bills. As the recent Fraser Institute report tells us: Ontario has the fastest rising Hydro rates in all of Canada. In 2016, rates increased 15% over the previous year.

Unfortunately under the current government, it’s only going to get worse.

Hydro One is currently before the Ontario Energy Board asking for an increase to electricity rates. Despite the government’s repeated promises to get hydro costs to consumers under control – they will increase by $141 per year on January 1 if the OEB approves this request. My party’s leader, Patrick Brown, has repeatedly called for the government to step in and stop the proposed increase. So far, they have refused and Ontario families can expect to get hit in the pocketbook again.

Not only are hydro rates across the province getting out of control for consumers. The Ontario Energy Board has approved an increase to natural gas prices that will see bills rise by $36 per year. It will cost hard working citizens even more to heat their homes. Gas prices are on the rise because of the Liberals cap and trade program. The government was aware this would happen and hid cap and trade costs on gas bills. My colleague, MPP Monte McNaughton, has brought forward a Private Members Bill that will show all consumers how much cap and trade has cost them on their gas bills.

The Liberals are forcing hard working Ontarians to pay more to keep the lights on and their homes heated, but they have shown no ability to control their own costs. The total provincial debt is now more than $300 billion. Interest on that debt is costing Ontario taxpayers $1 billion per month. That’s greater than the cost of brand new hospitals for both Alliston and Collingwood. When I consider those numbers, I wonder: what important services and programs that people rely on have or will be cut to pay to pay those interest costs? The Liberals can’t continue to borrow money to pay interest costs on the debt they have incurred. It is not sustainable.

Ontarians are tired of the waste, the misspending and Liberal incompetence. It’s time for a change.

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