Letters to Editor

Wynne Liberals using taxpayer funded ads to target opposition held seats: Ontario AG
Another day, another taxpayer funded advertisement that’s drawn the ire of Ontario Auditor General. The AG’s office told QP Briefing that the ads promoting the recent provincial budget mention four cities held by opposition parties were “targeted for that reason.” They also said that the ads would not have been approved under old rules which gave AG Bonnie Lysyk the power to reject partisan government ads – a power Kathleen Wynne stripped Lysyk of. “The messages in the ad led us to conclude that a primary objective is to foster a positive impression of the government,” said the AG’s office.
The Ontario PCs wrote a letter today (attached) to Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa asking that he investigate the ads.  
 “From gas plants to hydro schemes to partisan, taxpayer funded advertising, we continue to see that Kathleen Wynne is using taxpayers as her personal re-election piggy bank,” said Ontario PC Deputy Leader Steve Clark. “The notion that a government would use taxpayer funded advertising to win over voters in opposition held seats is downright offensive, not just to opposition parties, but to our democracy.”
 Lysyk also called the Liberal Government’s ads touting their Unfair Hydro Plan as partisan and has said that several other ad campaigns would have been blocked by her office.
 “Patrick Brown and the Ontario PCs have been clear that the Auditor General must have the ability to block partisan Liberal advertising that’s paid by the paycheques of everyday people,” said Clark. “Here’s just one more reason that they can’t be trusted with our money.”
CONTACT: Nick Bergamini | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 416-325-8505

Kathleen Wynne spent $200k on Rubber Ducky (really)
Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal bath toys have landed her government in hot water after reports revealed she spent $200,000 on an oversized rubber ducky.
“Kathleen Wynne’s recklessness has left Ontarians drowning in debt and the only life preserver she’s thrown taxpayers is an inflatable rubber duck with a $200k price tag,” said Ontario PC Tourism Critic Rick Nicholls. “This is just more quack economics from a tired Liberal Party whose appetite for wasting taxpayers dollar is limitless. Kathleen Wynne should throw this baby out with the bathwater immediately.”
The rubber duck was purchased as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations. The rubber duck`s connection to Canada`s heritage remained unclear at press time.
“Kathleen Wynne has given hard-working taxpayers another canard. This is simply shameful.”
Nick Bergamini | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 416-325-8505

GLOBAL WARMING
The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the
water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulate, at Bergen, Norway.
Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.
Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.
Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.
Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.
Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.
Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.
* * * * * * * * *
I must apologize!
I neglected to mention that this report was from November 2, 1922, as reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post - 93 years ago.
Must have been caused by Ford's Model T emissions!

The Barrie District Injured Workers' Group overwhelmingly endorse the findings of Bad Medicine:
A Report on the WSIB’s Transformation of its Healthcare Spending. Our members support is backed by their lived experience.
Their experiences, especially in the last 5 - 7 years, speak volumes! They have faced the compensation board cuts to their much needed healthcare services. This is a concern for all who work in Ontario who believe that if they get injured or made sick by their job, they will be cared for. The facts in this report, using the boards own stated statistics, prove otherwise.
The situation our members face is dire. We are unable to get many to speak out to your press and share their individual stories, stories which would substantiate the real experience this report mirrors. They fear repercussions.
We welcome the efforts of the authors of this report which examines the effect the WSIB’s “transformation” has had on a single but critical category of benefits: health care benefits.
Injured workers in the Simcoe County district for months and years, are stuck into appeals because of denials and forced into poverty by the Workers' Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
The report explains: "In 2010, in response to the Ontario Auditor General’s 2009 report on the WSIB’s unfunded liability, the WSIB embarked on an “historical transformation” of its business model.
The WSIB’s “transformation” has been a remarkable success in reducing its unfunded liability: the WSIB is on track to eliminate it completely six years ahead of schedule, even while granting employers a substantial reduction in premiums. But advocates and health care professionals who work with injured workers believe the transformation has had a dramatic negative impact on injured workers. They say that the WSIB routinely disregards medical evidence; forces workers back to work before they are fit to do so; cuts compensation benefits without just cause; and denies entitlement to necessary health care treatments."
Reducing the unfunded liability was not to be done on the backs on injured workers
The report concludes that:
For injured workers, the WSIB’s historic “transformation” has resulted in substantial, harmful cuts to health care benefits. The WSIB has cut thousands of workers out of its drug benefits program. The WSIB has transformed direct health care services into programs that integrate benefit cost control measures. And the WSIB has used pre-existing conditions to deny and reduce permanent impairment benefits, all while claiming these cuts as the evidence of improved recovery outcomes. For injured workers, the supposed benefits of the WSIB’s “transformation” are an illusion. The cuts, by contrast, hurt because they are all too real."
The full report is published online at http://iavgo.org/whats-new/. We say this is not acceptable and call on our government officials and all politicians to acknowledge that injured workers' healthcare is a right. The compensation system must be reformed to its fullest mandate.
Christine Nugent, Barrie District Injured Workers’ Group
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cost of gas plant scandal more than doubles to over $3B, hitting ratepayers
It turns out the $1.2 billion price tag revealed by the Auditor General in 2015 for the Liberal gas plant scandal is just the beginning. Now ratepayers will be on the hook for an additional $1.56 billion to pay for the replacement gas plants in Sarnia and Napanee, according to reports.
"The Liberals covered up the true cost of their desperate re-election ploy in 2011, leading to a court trial this fall. But it turns out the true cost of this scandal is far higher," said Ontario PC Energy Critic Todd Smith. "This only means one thing and one thing only: when you get your bill, you'll see that this reckless Liberal scandal is costing you more."
The news comes on the heels of a cabinet document leaked by the Ontario PCs revealing that hydro rates will skyrocket under Kathleen Wynne's unfair hydro scheme.
"When you have families across Ontario choosing to heat or eat, you'd think it would be a wake-up call for the Liberal government to come clean," added Smith. "But here they go again, caught red-handed hiding the doubling of the cost of the gas plant scandal."
By the numbers:
$360 million: Cost of new Sarnia gas plant
$1.2 billion: Cost of new Napanee gas plant
$1.2 billion: Cost of 2011 gas plant cancellation
5: Number of OPP investigations the Liberal government is under
CONTACT: Nick Bergamini | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 416-325-850

North Bay Regional Health Centre electricity bills climb as consumption falls
$577,047 (19%) increase in the cost of electricity to North Bay Regional Health Centre since 2012
TORONTO, ON: Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) reveal a dramatic increase to the cost of electricity to the North Bay Regional Health Centre since 2012.
The documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show that in the last five years, bills for the health centre’s main campus rose from $2 million to $2.6 million. That’s a 19 per cent increase, even though consumption during the same period dropped by 8.3 per cent.
“How is the North Bay Regional Health Centre expected to afford electricity when they reduce their consumption and their bills still climb by nearly 20 per cent? The more the hospital has to spend keeping their lights on, the fewer resources they have for patients,” said CTF Ontario Director, Christine Van Geyn.
Ontario has seen dramatic increases to the cost of electricity, with bills for residential consumers more than doubling in the last decade.
“Families across the province all feel the pain of rapid increases to the cost of electricity when they pay their home electricity bill. But what many people don’t think about is the cost of the Ontario government’s failed electricity policy to the institutions we all rely on, like the North Bay Regional Health Centre,” continued Van Geyn. “Instead of paying more than $577,000 for higher electricity bills, the North Bay Regional Health Centre could have paid for eighty additional knee replacements this year. That’s something that Ontario families really need, rather than wasting money on this government’s hydro rip-off.”
The documents detailing North Bay Regional Health Centre’s electricity bills can be found HERE.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is currently running a campaign opposing the Green Energy Act and cap-and-trade at www.StopHighEnergyBills.ca.

Kathleen Wynne's Unfair Hydro Plan a Sham: FAO
Ontario’s budget watchdog confirmed today that Kathleen Wynne’s Unfair Hydro Plan will actually see hydro rates climb starting next year. Financial Accountability Officer Stephen LeClair’s analysis confirms that Ontarians will get a jolt of financial pain in the short and long term. Electricity rates will be going up, and Ontario will be saddled with huge costs for decades to come.
“Kathleen Wynne’s unfair hydro plan is a sham. The government’s own numbers confirm it and independent experts confirm it. Rates are going up – period,” said Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown. “It’s time for Kathleen Wynne to stop covering up the truth – under her plan, our hydro bills will go up. Everything will cost more. This will have a devastating impact on household budgets and the economy.”
The report is worse than what was revealed in a leaked Liberal Cabinet document earlier this month.
“This is shocking. The Liberals have known all along that hydro bills will increase next year, then by a whopping 12% year over year starting in 2028,” said PC Energy Critic Todd Smith. “To make matters worse, the Liberals are bringing back the debt retirement charge which will cost Ontarians four times more.”
Today’s report confirmed that:
Rates will rise right after the next provincial election
The Debt Retirement Charge which people remember from their bills is returning (four times higher)
By 2028 rates will jump to even higher than what the leaked document suggested
The plan will cost Ontarians up to $93 billion – and the best case scenario, which will require the government to balance its budget every year for the next three decades, is this plan’s cost will be $45 billion.
“Once again, it’s clear to everyone that this has nothing to do with making life more affordable, and everything to do with Kathleen Wynne’s re-election.”

B.C. proves to Ontario Conservatives that ‘revenue neutral’ carbon taxes are a myth
By: Christine Van Geyn, CTF Ontario Director
This article was previously published in the Financial Post.
There are lessons to learn from British Columbia’s carbon tax, and the biggest one is for the leader of Ontario’s official opposition, Patrick Brown.
The lesson is a simple one. Revenue neutrality doesn’t happen.
Politicians sold a carbon tax to British Columbians on the promise of revenue neutrality – the idea that the overall tax burden on the public remains the same because the carbon tax is offset by tax reductions in other areas
But a recent study by the Fraser Institute has found that British Columbians are on track to experience a $599 million net tax hike from 2013-14 to 2016-17 as a result of a carbon tax that politicians sold to them as “revenue neutral.”
The biggest problem with revenue neutrality is that politicians get greedy.
When the BC carbon tax was first implemented in 2008-09, the government enacted four offsetting tax measures. These included reductions for income tax for the lowest tax brackets, tax reductions for large and small businesses, and a tax credit for low income households. These were all new tax reductions designed to offset the increases caused by the carbon tax.
But give a politician an inch and they’ll take a mile.
Soon the government of British Columbia began including other pre-existing tax credits into the “revenue neutrality” calculation. In 2014-15, the BC government added tax credits for training, film production and scientific research into the “revenue neutral” calculation.
Even in theory this makes no sense. How do BC families’ higher gasoline and heating bills get offset by subsidies to Hollywood movie studios?
Even if film subsidies could actually offset higher household bills (they can’t), the subsidies weren’t even new. Which is the whole point of so-called “revenue neutrality.” A new tax is supposed to be offset by new tax cuts. Instead, what we saw in BC was a new tax on families being offset by old corporate welfare.
When those tricks are removed from the accounting, the Fraser Institute found that the net tax increase has been $599 million.
The BC government essentially acknowledged that the carbon tax has not been revenue neutral, by taking measures in the recent budget to correct some of these problems. These included removing three of the six pre-existing tax measures from the revenue neutrality calculation.
But the BC experience shines a light on the way revenue neutrality can be used deceptively by politicians. Governments looking to boost their tax revenue can use the veil of revenue neutrality to raise our taxes while telling us they aren’t. Cap-and-trade isn’t the only way of obfuscating carbon tax hikes, BC shows us that “revenue neutrality” can serve that purpose as well.
And BC’s finances are objectively better than Ontario’s. Ontario’s government has more than doubled the debt since 2002-03, making us the largest sub-national borrower in the world. The province is also gripped in an electricity crisis, and whoever wins government in 2018 will be tempted to use tax dollars to solve it. Making a carbon tax hike all the more tempting to politicians who told us we wouldn’t pay more.
Perhaps this explains why Brown is plowing ahead with his plan to campaign on a “revenue neutral” carbon tax for Ontario.
He claims that his tax will be a “revenue neutral plan that will reduce emissions and put money back in the pockets of Ontarians.” But so far, voters aren’t buying it. A poll commissioned by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation found that 58 per cent of Ontarians are less likely to vote for a politician that proposing Brown’s model – a straight carbon tax on fuels.
It’s an unpopular idea that the evidence shows us doesn’t work, which means it’s time for Brown to do the right thing and reverse his carbon tax course. Unless, as BC shows us, his carbon tax really is just about the money.
For more information:
Ontario Director Christine Van Geyn cell: 647-607-6633, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Province Cutting Alcohol Licensing Fees for Independent Grocers
Ontario is supporting small, independent grocers by reducing the regulatory fee required to sell beer, cider and wine by $2,000 per year, representing a 66 per cent savings for qualified businesses.  
This is a first step in Ontario's plan to reduce fees and other costs for small- and medium-sized businesses.
To help small businesses grow and to cut red tape, Ontario will be proposing new legislation this fall that includes:
Reducing fees and other costs: Reviewing licence and registration fees paid with a goal of providing relief to by small- and medium-sized businesses.
Government procurement: Introducing a preferred procurement policy for small businesses that would help provide better access to government contracts.
One-window service: Developing a new program that would help small businesses access support, information and resources by phone, online and in person.
Reducing regulatory costs: Requiring all ministries to offset every dollar of new administrative costs to business, by removing $1.25 of old and unnecessary costs.
Streamlining compliance for small business: Ensuring that undue burdens aren't placed on small businesses when new or amended regulations are introduced, while maintaining robust environmental, health and safety requirements and other public interest protections.
International or national standards alignment: Increasing harmonization with other jurisdictions and adopting international or national standards, where appropriate, when developing or reviewing regulations.
Rewarding good actors: Recognizing businesses that have a good compliance record and lowering their costs by reducing the requirements, such as the number of inspections, without compromising the environment health and safety, and other protections.
Electronic transmission guarantee: Providing businesses the option to electronically submit any required documentation to the Government of Ontario instead of more costly paper submissions.
Across the province, there are now up to 208 grocery stores authorized to sell beer and cider. This includes 44 independent grocers that are eligible for the fee reduction.‎