How To Get Elected In Ontario: Promise Cheap Energy, No Matter What The Cost


Andrea Horvath, Dalton McGuinty, Tim Hudak

Gerry Rafferty wrote:

Clowns to the left of me!
Jokers to the right!
Here I am stuck in the middle with you.

That's how one feels in Ontario, Canada these days, as we approach a fall election and everyone starts making promises. The polls are predicting a right wing Conservative landslide, and my vote would normally go to the New Democrats on the left. But when it comes to energy policies, it looks like we are stuck in the middle with Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty right now.

He was our 2009 Best of Green Regional Politician, but has done a bit of backsliding since then.
Nothing surprises me from the Joker to the Right, Tim Hudak of the Progressive Conservative party. He is singlehandedly scaring off investment in Ontario green energy by threatening to kill the province's feed-in-tariff program. Tyler Hamilton writes:

He wants to throw the baby out with the bath water, and in doing so kill investor confidence in the Ontario market, kill green jobs and build new nuclear plants that we'll have to start paying for 10 years before the first kilowatt-hour is generated. His approach is reckless at a time when Ontario needs surgical, not blunt force, solutions. He's being destructive at a time when Ontarians want our politicians to be constructive.

He also wants to remove the sales tax on energy used for home heating.

The Clown to the Left on energy policy is Andrea Horvath of the NDP,who wants to cut taxes on energy use. According to the approving Toronto Star:

Gasoline prices are top-of-mind for Ontario voters. The NDP has shrewdly seized on lower prices to differentiate themselves from the Liberals and Tories, who have both ruled out relief at the pump. Horwath argues that driving is a necessity -- music to the ears of working-class voters, but also upper-income 905 [suburban] commuters in SUVs.

So instead of something sensible like a carbon tax to encourage people to drive less or get a more fuel efficient car, or to live more efficiently in smaller houses closer to work, Andrea Horvath writes in the policy statement as justification for lowering taxes on energy:

Your electricity. Your home heating. Gas for your car. You can cut a lot from your household budget, but everyone needs to heat their home, keep the lights on and commute to work.

Living in a big house in the suburbs and commuting by car is not a necessity, it is a lifestyle choice. It happens to be a particularly carbon-intensive choice. Giving it a tax break shifts the burden to the urban, renting, cycling and apartment dwelling citizens who are a big part of the NDP's traditional base.

My family disagrees with me on this. My son says energy taxes are regressive, hurting the poor and middle classes far more than the rich, particularly since they have to drive the furthest. My wife worries that her mother may be forced out of her house because she can't afford to heat it.

But I think that the NDP should be taxing carbon, not giving it a break. I have always voted NDP but I can't vote for this.

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Tags: Ontario