End of Spring Session – AG Calls Into Question Hydro Ads

Sarnia & Lambton County THIS WEEK
Queen’s Park Report with MPP Bob Bailey

Let me begin by wishing everyone a Happy belated Victoria Day. The official kick-off to the warm summer months means that there are only a few weeks of legislative business remaining at Queen’s Park before the house rises for the summer.

In the last few weeks the provincial government has been feverously introducing new pieces of legislation as the clock winds down on the session. Heading into the last summer before the next provincial election the Wynne government is hoping to reset the narrative and use the next few months as a spring board for the upcoming campaign. No doubt you will see lots of adds in the coming months reminding you what a great job Premier Wynne thinks her government is doing. You may have already noticed the tiny reminder that the government slipped into the envelope with your latest hydro bill. “Ontario’s government is reducing electricity costs…” starts the pat-on-the-back insert that will be included with every bill you receive until July 1, 2018, one month after the next election (for some reason it doesn’t mention that the same government has raised rates 300% since 2005). Not surprisingly, this taxpayer funded advertising has caught the attention of many electricity ratepayers in the province. My colleague, the Official Opposition’s Critic for Energy, MPP Todd Smith, asked Bonnie Lysyk, the Auditor General of Ontario for her opinion of the inserts.

Once again, the Auditor General has raised concerns over the Liberal Government’s questionable tactics. In her response letter to the PC Energy Critic Todd Smith, the Auditor General indicated that the government’s advertising insert included with ratepayer’s hydro bills bends the rules for the Liberal government’s benefit. Lysyk writes in the letter: “While the letter of the law was not broken, the intent or spirit of the Act was.” I feel like I’ve heard this one before.

Unfortunately, this sort of behavior has come to be expected from the Ontario Liberal government. Don’t forget, this is the same government currently under five separate OPP investigations, not to mention the countless scandals, numerous boondoggles, and ongoing waste and mismanagement. All too often it seems this government is taking actions for their political survival, rather than in the best interests of Ontarians.

The kicker in all this is that the cost of the promotional inserts will be recovered through the distribution charges on people’s electricity bills. That means as an electricity ratepayer, in addition to everything else that goes into your delivery charges, you are now paying for this government to tell you what a great job they’ve been doing with your energy rates…and they will be telling you each month right through the next provincial election.

As always, I very much appreciate hearing from you and I will continue to welcome your questions and concerns. I can be reached by phone: (519) 337-0051, email bob.baileyco@pc.ola.org, through my website at www.bobbaileympp.com, or on facebook at facebook.com/BobBaileyMPP