National Post – Nov. 18, 2010
Editorial: McGuinty’s hydro bait-and-switch
Ontario’s economic update is in – and the provincial Liberals’ desperation level clearly is up. In advance of the update, provincial Finance Minister Dwight Duncan already had leaked the Liberals’ plan to cut Hydro bills by 10% for five years by using $1-billion in borrowed money. That populist sop would be ill-advised under any circumstances, but especially so given Ontario’s projected 2010 deficit of $18.7-billion.
In 2003, Premier Dalton Mc-Guinty declared: “I won’t lower your taxes, but I won’t raise them either.” Well, he kept the first promise; but as for the second – not so much. In 2004, he subjected Ontarians to an annual health tax of up to $900 per family. Over the next few years, he increased various licensing fees, including those for cars, boats, hunting and fishing. In 2009, he instituted up-front “recycling fees” on a host of items, and in 2010 attempted to bring the second wave of his “ecotax” (which he had to withdraw amid howls of protest). And of course, he also introduced the Ontario HST, which has been calculated to cost the average family in the province an extra $480 a year.
And now there’s the hydro bait-and-switch, which will be paid for by future taxpayers. If Mr. McGuinty thinks this shortsighted stunt will put the province’s opposition Tories in a corner, he is wrong: Paying for this rate cut with borrowed money fools nobody.