Ontario party leaders debate gas prices

By Daniel Adam
Staff Writer

Provincially, the average price for gas was at 200.2 cents per litre over the long weekend. With the provincial election looming, party leaders are discussing solutions on how to reduce the high prices.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath said in a virtual media availability Friday that her party is the only one prepared to take on Big Oil.

“Everybody recognizes how bad this is,” said Horwath. “It is absolutely time that Ontarians get a break at the pumps. By regulating the wholesale and retail price, we’ll make sure what you pay is fair and nothing more.”

Horwath said the Ontario Energy Board will set the maximum price each week.

Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said he’s heard the same commitment from the NDP for the last two or three election campaigns.

“It’s not really regulating gas prices,” said Del Duca. “It’s effectively putting a weekly cap on gas prices, as opposed to an overall way of stopping gas prices from going up.”

He said he thinks it’s important that leaders respond to the anxiety that families face daily.

“Ontario Liberals will make life more affordable in a series of ways, starting with the reduction in the price at the pumps by reducing the fuel tax and the gas tax,” said Del Duca.”

During the leader’s debate last Monday, Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford said Del Duca and the other party leaders are in favour of the carbon tax.

“You’re all in favour of hiking the gas tax,” Ford said. “We’re the only party that’s going to cut taxes.”

Mike Schreiner, leader of the Ontario Greens suggested Ford consider electric vehicles.

“If you want to make transportation affordable for people, let’s get Big Oil out of people’s pockets,” said Schreiner. “You can save $2,000 a year driving an electric vehicle, so let’s make it affordable for the average person to own them.”

CBC projects Doug Ford to return as Ontario’s premier. As of Wednesday morning, the PCs are projected to win 73 seats. Parties need 63 for a majority.

The race for the official opposition is tightly-contended, with the New Democrats projected to win 27 seats, and the Liberals 23. The Greens are polling at 6.7 per cent, and are projected to take one seat.

Advance voting is open until May 28 with venues open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voting day is officially June 2.