Horwath, Hudak target rising hydro bills
PCs want to cut hydro bureaucracy; NDP plans to knock HST off power bills
Ontario's opposition parties are opening the second week of the election campaign by playing power politics, with each putting forward proposals aimed at trimming soaring power bills.
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Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said he would end subsidies for wind and solar power while cutting back on what he calls the "bloated" bureaucracy at both Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation.
Hudak said the moves would reduce electricity rates and create 40,000 jobs in the process.
"We need to pare down that massive hydro bureaucracy," Hudak said at a factory in Smithville, located on the Niagara Peninsula. "They have 11,000 people in the hydro bureaucracy making $100,000 a year, can you believe that?"
Hudak, who on Friday promised to cut 100,000 public-sector jobs, also said he would reduce the number of provincial electricity agencies created after the breakup of the old Ontario Hydro.
Campaigning in Thunder Bay, New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath promised to get rid of the provincial portion of HST on hydro bills if she becomes premier. It's a move she said would save homeowners about $120 a year.
They have 11,000 people in the hydro bureaucracy making $100,000 a year, can you believe that?- Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak
"Instead of making life affordable, the Liberals decided to add an unfair tax on top of the highest electricity rates in the country," said Horwath. "We're going to take it off and make life affordable for families. We didn't think the HST should have been on hydro bills in the first place."
Need to invest in hydro system, Wynne says
Campaigning north of Toronto in Vaughan, Wynne said recent hydro increases have been caused in part because the government had to make massive investments to upgrade Ontario's electricity system in recent years.
"There's a cost associated with that, and so we are working to make sure that there are programs and supports in place for people who are struggling to pay for their electricity," she said. "But are we going to back away from clean, renewable energy? No, we're not going to do that."
On Monday Hudak lashed out at both the Liberals and the NDP for policies he says are boosting electricity bills.
"A billion dollars in the gas plants scandal to save a couple Liberal seats and you folks got stuck with the bill," he said. "And the NDP, they're really just the great pretenders. They say they care about hydro rates but they voted with the Liberals each and every time."
With files from Genevieve Tomney, The Canadian Press