QUEEN’S PARK – The $7-billion Samsung contract is a sweetheart deal given to a foreign-based conglomerate and not offered to Ontario companies. It is a deal that pays foreign-based Samsung $437 million in subsidies over and above what it receives in its multi-billion-dollar secret contract, a contract that does not contain a single job guarantee.
Sadly, Ontario ratepayers, Ontario families, know little about this deal because the important details are being kept hidden, secret from the energy industry and secret from the Ontario families who will end up paying the bill at the end of the day. It is a deal that will force Ontario ratepayers to pay a lot more for a long, long time and it is a preferential, sole-source deal that may be in violation of Ontario’s procurement rules.
Friends, I will tell you today, here and now, that an Ontario PC government will release the full details of the Samsung subsidy deal and hand it to the Auditor General for a full evaluation. We will let the Auditor General get to the bottom of this deal to see the real impact on investment, on the power sector and on Ontario families who get stuck with the bill.
When Premier McGuinty began his expensive energy experiments, he opened up the grid to allow more renewable energy projects. Ontario companies began lining up to take advantage of the offering, and then the McGuinty Liberal government let Samsung cut right to the front of the line. In fact, they politically interfered: They directed their own Ontario Power Authority to ensure that Samsung received preferential treatment when it comes to transmission capacity, prices and access. Let me reinforce that: You had Ontario companies that were able to do the work and that were ready to do the work, and the McGuinty government ensured that Samsung received preferential treatment when it comes to transmission capacity, prices and access. They directed their own Ontario Power Authority to make that so.
This preferential treatment has been roundly condemned by leaders in the energy sector, including the Association of Power Producers, the Canadian Wind Energy Association and the Canadian Solar Industries Association.
The Society of Energy Professionals president said of the Samsung subsidy, “This is no way to build an electricity system,” and, “This will be very, very expensive….” The Ontario PC caucus agrees.
Premier McGuinty’s energy experiments, from his smart meter tax machines to time-of-use rates to the Green Energy Act and the Samsung billions of dollars in subsidies, are causing electricity bills to skyrocket across our province.
In Ontario homes today, hydro bills are sitting on the kitchen table for days and days on end because seniors and families are afraid to see how much more those bills have gone up due to Dalton McGuinty’s expensive energy experiments, and you can’t blame them.
Electricity rates are already up 75% under this government. Add in the impact of the HST and the backdoor energy taxes and other rate hikes, and the annual cost of electricity bills for Ontario families is set to increase by an additional staggering $732 a year by 2015.
Ontario families deserve a break. They’re looking for change. A PC government will give Ontario families the break they deserve and need.
Friends, a PC government will offer that change. We will take our province down an entirely different path than the one we’re on today. Our approach on energy will be rooted in accountability to the consumer, the family and small business, to put them at the top of energy policy.
We believe that government decision-makers should work with the energy sector to set out the policy framework and then leave it to the sector to implement and execute and get out of this day-to-day, seat-of-the-pants, to-and-fro, back-and-forth mismanagement that we’re seeing under the McGuinty government and his Minister of Energy.
Quite frankly, the Samsung deal is the complete opposite of the right approach. It is a hands-on, preferential treatment that makes foreign multinationals the winners, and Ontario businesses and families end up the losers.
An Ontario PC government would level the playing field where all companies can compete fairly and transparently.
In a very different approach to the McGuinty government, we will restore the Ontario Energy Board’s ability to act in the best interests of the consumer. We will create a dedicated consumer advocate at the Ontario Energy Board to represent each and every day the ratepayers of the province and fight for them against the out-of-control policies of the McGuinty government.
We will give families a choice on whether time-of-use pricing works for them or if they want a regulated rate that will benefit seniors, families with young and school-aged children, and those who have to work nights or weekends and split shifts, because not every family conforms to Dalton McGuinty’s definition of an ideal family. Somebody has to stand up for the senior whom Dalton McGuinty is lecturing to do her laundry at midnight. Somebody has to stand up for the family whom Dalton McGuinty is telling to have all the kids clothed, showered, fed and ready for school by 7 a.m. Somebody has to stand up for the shift worker who can’t take a day off work to do the chores. The Ontario PC Party will stand up for those families in our province. Under a PC government, no more cutting untendered, sole-source, sweetheart, multi-billion-dollar subsidy deals with foreign-based conglomerates and then, as the Liberals did, keeping the details secret. That kind of backdoor deal-making will come to an end.
Until that time, first, we need to shine the light on this backroom Samsung subsidy deal. I urge all members of the House to listen to Ontario families, to listen to the small businesses concerned about what this deal is going to mean to them. How much will it cost them and how many jobs will be taken out of Ontario and sent overseas? I hope the members, if they actually believe in this deal—and I think many members of the government actually do not, based on media reports. I ask them to stand in their place and to support this motion so we can find out exactly what the secret Samsung subsidy will cost Ontario families. Release the details of the Samsung deal to industry stakeholders who have been denied their opportunity to compete, based on special treatment to the foreign multinational corporation.
I call on the members to stand up and be counted. Release the details to all members of this House who have been kept in the dark and, most importantly, release the details of your secret subsidy deal with Samsung to Ontario families.
Tim Hudak is the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.