TIMMINS – Randy Hillier, PC Party critic for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry is participating in pre-budget consultations in Timmins. “As has been the case for months, stakeholders from across the North have brought forth compelling evidence that overregulation and high hydro prices are destroying livelihoods in a range of Northern sectors,” shares Hillier.
“The number of bad Liberal policies relating to Northern Ontario is staggering,” charges Hillier. “When the PC Party was last in power, and Tim Hudak was Minister for Northern Development, we were the number one jurisdiction for mining in the world. Now, I don’t even know if we’re in the top 20.”
Numerous presenters to the committee outlined the devastating impacts of bad policy, such as the closing of the Timmins Xtrata Copper smelter last year, or the devastating wood shortage experienced by the forestry industry from a Liberal government foray into forest tenure review, which was recently cancelled after 2 years with no delivered accomplishments.
“They destroyed the smelter here in Timmins with high energy prices and overregulation – the same problems that have shut down over 60 mills and lost us 40,000 forestry jobs,” said Hillier. “And despite skyrocketing hydro prices, Northern Industry still has to pay for the Global Adjustment, and northern consumers still have to pay for the Debt Retirement Charge. The numbers don’t add up.”
Dalton McGuinty was recently forced to admit that the pricing structure he had created for the Ontario energy sector was forcing the province to pay US and Quebec utilities to take excess Ontario power. Because the global adjustment isn’t charged on exported power, traders in North American energy markets can buy Ontario power for much less than Ontario ratepayers, and sell it to Quebec or the U.S. for much higher rates.
“While Northern industry withers and dies because they can no longer afford Dalton McGuinty’s energy prices, he’s busily subsidizing consumers and traders in other jurisdictions,” said Hillier. “He has the opposite of a Midas touch. In a land where gold is quite literally beneath your feet, they have found a way to turn it back into lead.”