THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Atitkokan MPP Bill Mauro says “Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has serious concerns about the Horwath NDP’s attempts to pass an auto insurance law that would help drunk and otherwise dangerous drivers by increasing rates paid by responsible ones. “Unfortunately, the NDP continue to pursue this misguided auto insurance legislation, in spite of growing opposition from organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. This is not a debate about auto insurance. This is about legislation that would increase rates for Northern drivers who will be subsidizing the rates of drivers in Toronto,” added Mauro.
Andrew Murie, CEO of MADD Canada, says the NDP scheme sends the wrong message. “In essence, the bill would force responsible drivers to subsidize the insurance premiums of dangerous drivers,” Murie said. “In our view, the bill sends all the wrong messages. It punishes responsible drivers, rewards dangerous drivers, and will increase the risk to people on Ontario’s roads.”
Mauro states, “Under the NDP’s auto insurance scheme, drivers pulled over for dangerous driving offenses such as drunk driving and street racing would face no increase in premiums. The NDP plan would cause drivers with a good driving record to pay more so dangerous drivers can pay less. In addition to penalizing safe drivers, the NDP’s poorly conceived proposal would also increase rates for drivers just because of where they live. Drivers in Thunder Bay, for example, would pay 34.77 percent more, and drivers in other parts of the Northwestern Ontario region would pay 38.38 percent more – while subsidizing rates for drivers in other parts of the province”.
New Democrat Consumer Affairs Critic Jagmeet Singh says that under his bill, bad drivers that put families in danger would pay more, not less. “Bad drivers that put families at risk should pay more, not less,” said Singh. “Bill 45 brings more fairness for good drivers. Bad and dangerous drivers, like those with driving convictions, won’t get any breaks.”
Singh has proposed a private member’s bill that would ban insurer’s practice of discriminating by neighbourhood. It would mean premiums would be set by a person’s driving record, not which neighbourhood they live in.
NDP MPP Gilles Bisson noted that action is needed to get auto insurance rates under control. Ontario has the highest auto insurance rates in the country. According to a recent Auditor General report, Ontario premiums – which average just over $1,400 per vehicle – are as much as 75% higher than other provinces. This is why New Democrats have arranged open hearings on auto insurance: to push for solutions.
“The proposal would also lower rates for drivers of luxury cars at the expense of all others,” continued Mauro. “Ontario Liberal auto insurance reforms have stabilized prices and kept rate increases lower than inflation following years of skyrocketing rates under both the NDP and PCs. Liberals are also aggressively tackling fraud, which has been a root cause of high auto insurance rates”.
“Life is expensive enough without sky-high insurance bills making life even more expensive. When a good driver in Manitoba is paying hundreds of dollars less than the same driver would in Ontario, we have a problem,” said Bisson. “Let’s have an open and honest debate about how we get costs under control. The same-old tired ideas put forward by the McGuinty Liberals just aren’t working for drivers. If Dalton McGuinty and the insurance industry want to have a debate then I urge them to support our efforts to do exactly that,” said Bisson.