Horwath pledges to axe hydro HST
SUDBURY, Ont.—A New Democrat government would cut the provincial portion of the HST from residential hydro bills—an amount equal to about $120 a year for average homeowners, Ontario’s NDP leader Andrea Horwath said yesterday.
Campaigning in Northern Ontario, Horwath conceded the measure is modest but said it’s one easily implemented—starting in 2016.
“After 10 years in power, Liberals have left families paying some of the highest hydro bills in Canada,” she noted.
Horwath’s pledge came at the home of NDP supporter Jeff Caldwell, a working father, who said he would welcome the relief—equal to eight percent of energy bills.
His last hydro account, he said, cost $17 in HST and such amounts all add up.
“Where do we get this money?” Caldwell wondered.
“We’ve got other responsibilities other than paying for the Liberals’ mistakes—not mistakes, recklessness,” he added.
Ontario’s Liberal government concedes homeowners face a 33 percent hike in hydro rates over the next three years, but says that’s lower than previous government estimates.
The homeowner’s hydro complaint was similar in Sudbury, 1,000 km to the east, when Horwath stopped at a modest family home later in the day.
“We heat with hydro so our hydro bills are costly,” homeowner Chris Hallows told Horwath in his living room.
The Hallows estimate their monthly electricity charges at between $300 and $750—despite meticulous attempts at conservation.
In his campaign for the June 12 election, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak pledged yesterday to cut the “bloated” bureaucracy, import energy from Quebec and the United States, and end subsidies for wind and solar power.
“Tim Hudak’s plan is to repeat the same hydro privatization schemes that drove up bills the last time the Conservatives were in power,” Horwath charged.
Horwath said she also wants more control of what Ontario earns when it exports power, and said an NDP government would not invest in new nuclear power facilities.
She also said she would honour current contracts, including those that subsidize wind and solar power.