Bill Mauro and John Rafferty Set to Do Battle
THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – Two political foes are setting up to do battle again. John Rafferty, the former New Democrat MP for Thunder Bay Rainy River is preparing to run for the provincial New Democrats. Rafferty will likely be the NDP candidate in Thunder Bay Atikokan challenging Liberal Cabinet Minister Bill Mauro.
Rafferty made the announcement today in Slate River during a visit with provincial party leader Andrea Horwath.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and former NDP MP John Rafferty met with Gerry Muller, owner of AJ’s Trading Post outside of Thunder Bay to discuss how the NDP plan to reduce rates by up to 30 per cent will benefit small business owners like him.
“It’s time for the people of Thunder Bay to pay less for – and own more of – our hydro,” said Horwath. “Affordable, reliable public power will be the backbone of the electricity system under an NDP government.” said Horwath.
The NDP’s plan will lower hydro bills by reversing the Liberal and Conservative governments’ costly selloff, as well as through a number of immediate steps and long-term fixes to the hydro system. AJ’s Trading Post owner Gerry Muller said that NDP plan makes the most sense to him.
“My dream has always been to open another location, to use this place as a stepping stone, but that’s really hard to do when you’re spending too large a portion of your revenue paying the hydro bill,” said Muller. “The NDP has a good solid plan and I liked what I heard today from Andrea.”
Horwath noted that the NDP plan is in stark contrast to Liberal press releases and PR stunts about the government’s band-aid fix to high hydro rates that hasn’t even been tabled yet in the legislature.
“If Wynne is planning to sign Ontarians on to a $40-billion borrowing deal, she owes us all one heck of an explanation. That’s why I’m calling on her to table a bill Monday – so it can be properly debated by the legislature, by the public, and by experts.”
Horwath’s plan will bring an additional $7 billion in dividends to the province – money that can be used in schools and hospitals – while Wynne’s borrowing deal is expected to cost Ontarians as much as $40 billion more in interest payments.
While the Wynne plan appears to benefit bankers most, the Conservatives haven’t provided any sort of a plan at all to deal with sky-high hydro bills.
Horwath – Rafferty Move Draws Fast Response from Bill Mauro
Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro is calling on NDP leader Andrea Horwath to come clean with residents and fully explain how her proposal to reduce energy costs would offer any meaningful and immediate relief for residents in North Western Ontario.
“The NDP’s hydro scheme is short on details and long on hollow promises,” said Mauro. “Many of their proposals rely on a vague and yet-to-be-determined “expert panel” that will be convened in the future, as well as pie-in-the-sky negotiations with the federal government. These offer little to Ontarians in the short-term, compared to the real and meaningful relief our government’s Fair Hydro Plan will provide to everyone.”
Mauro said the NDP’s most expensive idea – buying back more than $4-billion in shares of Hydro One – will not take one cent off electricity bills.
“The OEB regulates energy rates and Horwath knows this, but the NDP, as usual, come to the game late with a plan that won’t do anything to reduce rates today,” said Mauro. “Buying back shares of Hydro One, over an eight year period, would use money that’s already earmarked for education, health care, and infrastructure in Thunder Bay-Atikokan, and would create a significant fiscal gap without any impact on electricity rates.”
Through Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan, the government is cutting electricity bills by 25 per cent on average for all families, with 8 per cent cut already and the rest to follow this summer.
It is the single largest rate reduction in the province’s history, helping families, small businesses and farms in the Thunder Bay area, added Mauro.
“The reductions will be even greater for rural R1 and R2 customers, who will see an ever larger reduction – up to 40 per cent – on their bills,” said Mauro. “This is action we are taking today to reduce the cost of electricity. My constituents have told me they need immediate relief, not a vague promise that offers nothing practical or substantial when it comes to reduced electricity costs.”
The Liberal plan will also keep rates consistent, holding them to inflation over the next four years.
“We will introduce legislation this session, with time for debate and public hearings at committee, ensuring real relief for Ontarians and a way to ensure greater fairness in our electricity system this summer,” said Mauro.
The last time Rafferty and Mauro ran against each other in a provincial race, it was one of the tightest races in the region’s political history with Mauro eking out a slim win over Rafferty.