The hydro crisis continues. But, for all visible intents and purposes, extreme electricity rates are little more than a laughing matter for premier Kathleen Wynne. In a Paul Bliss interview, broadcast December 19 on CTV, she was in a rather jovial mood and joked about always being in trouble.
What is happening to the province is not funny. The situation is serious enough for her cabinet members to start bailing. Businesses are closing or expanding out of Ontario. Investors are turning their backs and creating jobs elsewhere.
In January, possibly certain her subjects are gluttons for punishment, tax mistress Wynne will add new taxes to gasoline and natural gas. Both will be subject to the GST, a tax on a tax.
Collectively it could average out to a 12% tax increase, which is nothing if not inflationary.
There appears to be no letup in her taxing ways as she cripples Ontario’s traditional engine of job creation; the industrial sector. On December 21, the Toronto Star reported fastener maker Leland Industries is, “… opening a new manufacturing facility in the United States because rising energy costs have made Ontario uncompetitive for investment.”
Jocelyn Williams Bamford, a spokeswoman for Ontario’s Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers, says high energy prices rob companies of money for investment.
And, if manufacturers can’t invest in Ontario, it’s not good for the economy or for jobs in this province.
It is also discouraging new companies from setting up shop. Amazon Web Services, reported the National Post December 20, picked Montreal for a new data centre.
“Amazon conducted a thorough review of various options within Canada, including Ontario, that involved looking at a number of factors, including the price of electricity,” Amazon executive Teresa Carlson told the National Post.
The situation is so bad some pundits expect the Liberals will be wiped out in the next election. It is no wonder Wynne is losing cabinet members.
On December 19, the Windsor Star listed the departures.
- Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur,
- Seniors Minister Mario Sergio,
- Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin, and
- Cabinet Chair Jim Bradley
The most recent is Community Safety and Correctional
Services Minister David Orazietti. Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown sees the departure as a, “… reflection of the tired, self-interested government that has held onto power for 13 long years.” He went on to predict there will be, “… a long line of Liberal MPPs who will jump ship before the 2018 election.”
Can a premier, so unconcerned and so unwilling to treat energy prices as a crisis, even make it to the next election? Or will her party ditch her early in the new year?