Patrick Brown vows to end cap-and-trade during Kingsville greenhouse visit

Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown promised rebates and criticized the Liberal cap-and-trade program during a visit to a Kingsville greenhouse operation Monday.

Local growers say cap-and-trade is killing family businesses

Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown promised rebates and criticized the Liberal cap-and-trade program during a visit to a Kingsville greenhouse operation Monday. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown promised rebates and criticized the Liberal cap-and-trade program during a visit to a Kingsville greenhouse operation Monday.

"Under Liberals, Ontarians work more and get less" he said while touring Cecelia Acres.

The leader said greenhouses use the carbon dioxide they produce so there is a "business case" for exempting them from paying a carbon tax.

Local growers have been vocal about their opposition to cap-and-trade in recent months, with TG and G Mastronardi Produce owner Gerry Mastronardi vowing to take the fight to Queen's Park.

Cecelia Acres owner Chip Stockwell shared similar concerns Monday. 

"We've got spiraling electricity costs … we've got cap-and-trade, it's a huge expense for us, and now we're talking about a 39 per cent increase in the minimum wage," he said. "Those three things combined make a big number for use to jump over."

Cecelia Acres owner Chip Stockwell said unless greenhouse growers in Ontario get some stability soon the industry might not survive. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

Stockwell has been growing grape tomatoes for 18 years, but said the last few have been some of the toughest he's seen. Unless signifigant changes are made, the industry won't survive in Ontario, he added.

"When there's no profit left there's no incentive to do it," he said. "We need stability. We need to know what are expense are moving forward."

Brown pointed to Alberta and B.C. as provinces where greenhouse growers receive rebates covering 80 per cent of those taxes, meanwhile, he said Ontario's current government keeps making it harder for people to make a living.

"Life is harder under Wynne," Brown explained, while vowing to scrap cap-and-trade. "I want an Ontario where people will want to create good long-term jobs and those who do will want to stay here. We will rebuild the economy with a balanced plan to provide the right conditions for job growth."

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