The Unfairness of the Wynne Liberal “Fair Hydro Plan”

Yesterday, my husband Jim went to a Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro open house to learn what is planned over the next decade both provincially and locally. What he found out is that there is nothing fair in the Ontario Liberals’ Fair Hydro Plan.

Sure, the rates are going to go down now and into the near future as the government takes on debt to subsidize rate reductions but, eventually after ten years, that debt will need to be paid.

In other words, the Wynne Liberals are pushing magical thinking on to the population to try to get Ontario voters to forget that the problem is mostly of the Liberals own making, driven by all the billions and billions of dollars contracted for wind and solar energy which is completely unreliable.

For example, my husband learned that wind (7%) and solar (2%) account for only 9% of hydro generation while nuclear is 63.6%.

So, the “Fair Hydro Plan” does not offer long-term utility bill relief, contrary to what Liberal politicians are promoting.  As Peter Reesor, CEO of the Owen Sound & District Chamber of Commerce, says in an Owen Sound Sun Times column by Denis Langlois, “the plan is ‘a good start,’” but doesn’t tackle the central issue of soaring hydro costs. In other words, while “the relief will be greatly appreciated [now] it still doesn’t solve the problem in the long run. We’re basically passing an even higher debt on this – the cost of hydro – to our children and our grandchildren.”

Exactly!

On the hydro debt, Langlois also quotes Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Bill Walker as saying: “there is nothing ‘fair’ about the refinancing proposal, noting it will cost taxpayers ‘in a worst-case scenario’ as much as $42 billion over 30 years in added interest costs to ‘fix the hydro mess’ created by the Liberal government.”

Truly, the current gang of Liberal politicians in the Province of Ontario care only for their green ideology and getting re-elected. The crux of the matter is that the Ontario PCs under Patrick Brown need to get elected in 2018 so they can do something about this issue, starting with cancelling the Ontario FIT (Feed-in Tariff) program — which my husband heard yesterday, is still signing private renewable energy contracts and will continue to do so until the end of this summer!

Absolute madness! What a mess we are postponing for our children and our grandchildren.

Endnote: Those of us who live in regional Niagara-on-the-Lake (which consists of 5 separate communities), are very lucky that our municipal hydro utility is owned by our local municipality because it is very well managed. In that regard, my sincere thanks to NOTL Hydro and their volunteer Board.

McGuinty gov’t cuts a secret deal with public sector union

Call it a breach of public trust, dishonesty, desperation, alleged bribery, alleged corruption, or all of the above. The Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) Party is reporting that the Ontario McGuinty Liberal government has signed a secret deal with the Ontario public sector union, OPSEU, to give their members a guaranteed raise — AFTER the October 6th, 2011 election is over.

So, now we know that most, if not all, of Ontario’s public sector unions will be trashing the PCs at every turn over the next five months. I mean, we already knew that the Ontario teachers’ unions will be spending $3 million dollars to try to get the McGuinty caucus re-elected. We also knew that many of the public sector unions are part of the “Working Families Coalition.”  

However, as far as OPSEU goes, officials and members have been quiet — and isn’t that the point. They can help out simply by not rocking the boat so that McGuinty can brag that there was public sector union peace during both his majority mandates. Of course, what McGuinty won’t say is how his government got that peace —  by giving the unions whatever they wanted — with taxpayers money.

The Ontario PC news release states:

Records from the Ontario Labour Relations Board reveal that Dalton McGuinty cut a secret deal with leaders of the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU) to give 38,000 employees an additional 1 percent top up to their salaries, and then hired lawyers to try to bury the evidence. Yesterday, a Dalton McGuinty spokesperson defended this breach of the public trust saying other unions would have demanded more in their collective agreements too, had they known about the secret sweetheart deal.”

So, now Ontarians will know precisely why the Ontario election is going to be even nastier than the recent federal campaign. PC Leader Tim Hudak, his team and supporters like myself, will be fighting uphill against the wind of an entrenched entitlement culture. 

Meaning that all Ontarians had better remember the old saying: He who pays the piper plays the tune.

Five more months to another Conservative majority government, this time at Queen’s Park. Things come in threes: Doug Ford was elected Mayor of Toronto.  Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party were given a majority mandate this week. And, Tim Hudak will soon be the next Premier of Ontario with a majority government of between 65 and 70 seats.

McGuinty gov’t spending $6 B more for 90,000 fewer students

As with the October 2007 Ontario election and the faith-based funding issue,  the 2011 campaign is going to be mostly about education.  Meaning, that once again, Ontarians can expect McGuinty-style smoke and mirrors.

I have no doubt, for example, that the McGuinty Liberals and their supporters, will spend a lot of time talking about their wonderful full-day Kindergarten and how the bad old PCs are going to freeze — not cancel — its rollout. Never mind that no one yet knows how much a province-wide full implementation of the ELP would cost. No need for accountability. It’s the Liberal “don’t worry, be happy” boondoggle mentality at work.   

Ontarians can also expect, as the Kingston Whig Standard article “Failing Grade for McGuinty’s Grits” outlines, that the McGuinty Liberals will talk a lot about the fact that 14% more Ontario students are graduating from high school than ever before.

However, what they will not be telling voters, of course, is that the reason for that increase is not because more students were motivated and inspired to stay in school, but because the system watered down expectations and academic requirements through McGuinty’s “success/no-fail” social promotion policies.

But, that is not all. What the McGuinty Liberals will also NOT want to tell Ontario voters is that:

  1. EQAO standardized test results (scroll part way down the page to the chart) have pretty much stayed stable over the last five years, with only “writing” going up slightly at the Grade 3 level (see also the Fraser Report Card);
  2. Between 2002/03 and 2008/09, the province’s public schools lost 90,000 students; and
  3. Costs for education went up nearly $6 BILLION, from $14.4 billion in 2002/03 to $20.2 billion in 2009/10.

Yet, where has all that $6 billion gone? If EQAO standardized tests have only remained stable (tests the teachers’ unions apparently hate), why was $6 billion more spent for 90,000 fewer students? It makes no sense at all unless most of it went to higher teacher salaries and benefits.

Which would explain why the teachers’ unions, as well as other public sector unions (including the Working Families Coalition) are going to be fighting an anti-Hudak, anti-PC campaign in favour of the Liberal Party of Canada. They can recognize a gravy train when they see it. 

The public sector unions also know that if they openly support the Ontario Liberal Party and they should win another majority government, the Liberals would owe the public sector unions big time. Meaning, that within months of a third Liberal majority, the EQAO office will be shut down putting an end to standardized testing.

“Change ahead?” Indeed! $6 billion dollars with little to show for it. Time for the Ontario PC Party to be elected to stop the Liberal education gravy train to nowhere.