Let's Fix Hydro Blog

Maybe its because the liberals have been in power for 14 years? Maybe its because the liberal party has been caught up in so many scandals, accusations of corruption and cash for access fundraisers, and outright subterfuge and false facts when explaining away the various unethical maneuvers committed by this hack government that the people of Ontario are either dismissive of, or enraged by this government.

A person watching this government, led by Premier Kathleen Wynne and her entourage of submissive ministers, such as Charles Sousa, Deb Matthews, Liz Sandals, Eric Hoskins and other unsavory players wonders how on earth did this group of people get to be in a position of majority power?

It is very evident in the last 3 years the level of fake indignation and outrage constantly exhibited by the liberals is well practiced, and a go-to knee jerk response whenever the need to deflect from the shameful truth is necessary.

For example, lets take the new “Fair Hydro Plan” recently introduced by Kathleen Wynne.

We are expected to believe that she suddenly woke up one day last fall - September 2nd to be exact - and realized that the people of Ontario needed to be saved, we must be assisted in the day to day “pocket book” issues Ontarian’s were struggling with.

In particular, crippling hydro bills. I say bills instead of rates because the all-in costs are what’s killing us, however this government is very fond of stating that hydro RATES are competitive so they can smugly claim they are being truthful.

Well that may be, but once all the regulatory fees, delivery fees, pensions and exorbitant hydro one CEO salaries are tacked on and taxes are added to the “competitive rate”, our hydro bills become VERY UN-competitive. (1)

Just ask concerned Ontario manufacturers and anyone that is low income, or disabled, or on fixed incomes or live outside of cities.

(September 2, 2016 happens to be the day AFTER the Scarborough-Rouge River by-election that saw the liberals lose a seat they’ve ALWAYS had, to the Tories.)

It was the first time, I believe, that Premier Wynne might have blinked and awoken to realize her leadership wasn’t going as well as she thought it was.

Ordinarily, we would look for answers to questions raised by opposition parties as to how & why hydro costs have spiraled out of control into the wide abyss of “Oh great , nothing but bills in the mail” to “Holy crap - it’s the hydro bill - quick everyone to the blood bank!!”

Question Period at Queen’s Park is such a monumental waste of time - tax payers should be demanding an overhaul of parliament house rules or at least an annual tax credit called the “Spend & Waste Reimbursement Credit” for the money wasted sending these people to question period.

When the government answers (dodges, deflects, dithers - take your pick) questions that are asked of them, they either point fingers at a government from 14 years ago (very definition of moot), or they insert fake indignation.

As an example, Liz Sandals has a very bad habit of stating “I would much rather talk about....” instead of answering the question. She either does that in hopes that eventually nobody will ask her questions, or she is a Guinness World Records contender for Worlds Shortest Attention Span - her chief rival being that of Goldie the Goldfish. (Am I the only that sees her as seemingly perpetually plastered? I keep expecting a flask of vodka to appear in her hand)

Another one is Jeff Leal, the agriculture and rural affairs minister. He is usually seen with his fingers steepled under his chin with a vacant look of persistent bewilderment on his face.

I call it his “inscrutability mask” because I am skeptical and wonder if he has mastered the art of sleeping with his eyes open, which would explain why, when he stands to answer a question, half way through he starts raving and ranting, much the way Nixon, who on November 17, 1973, gave a nationally televised and broadcast press conference in which he denied his involvement in the Watergate cover-up and stated that he had never profited from his public service. (Like, Omg! Sounds SO familiar to what we are hearing from this government.) If Nixon coined the phrase, “I am not a crook” then this government has definitely fine-tuned it to fit any dubious narrative that may be thrown at them.

Yes, there are many issues, dilemmas, woes and recriminations that are directly linked to or caused by Wynne’s governing party. Enough, that most people can only focus on a few at one time - unless you are a high-functioning sufferer of ADHD - in which case you are likely in your element if you’re a political junkie like I am.

It should not have taken 8 years for government to act in the best interests of hydro rate payers. Ontario and her citizens NEVER should have had to experience state sanctioned energy poverty - not to the extent that we have. We certainly never should have had to take to social media, to the streets, to Queen’s Park just to be heard. Mostly, none of us should have been made to feel so debased and humiliated in the face of struggling to eat and heat our homes, never mind holding our heads up.

Kathleen Wynne has called it “her mistake”. She claims they listened to us - heard us, and NOW, conveniently leading up to her go at re-election, she introduces 25% total savings by summer 2018 with her “Fair Hydro Plan “ And in the words of Deb Matthews ... “If it makes us look good, then So Be It”

Perhaps Lets Fix Hydro is the only one who is still upset over something that has , as yet, not been addressed by this government of Wynne’s. Instead, it has been swept under the rug and avoided like the plague by the Premier and her contemporaries ...

How about a public apology to the tens of thousands that have been made to suffer mental distress & anguish by worrying where they would get the money to pay their rising hydro bills? What about the relationships and marriages that have collapsed or permanently wounded because of the depression and perpetual fighting over finances?

How many parents have felt they were worthless because they just couldn’t provide their family with more than very bare basics, or who have watched their children bathe in melted snow for water because there was no electricity?

How many seniors were forced out of their homes into overcrowded health facilities & nursing homes?

How many young families are living in cramped apartments or parent’s basements because they cannot save enough for a home as a result of paying high hydro bills?

What about undernourishment? Suicides? Chronic illness because of forgone medication...?

Where is the acknowledgment from this government that they contributed - unnecessarily - to this?

We are now in the glorious year of 2017..... what used to work in politicking, what has always worked on the campaign trails isn’t quite up to snuff anymore.

In this age of instant news, instant communications, live video feeds “as-it-happens, twitter and face book, it is time these political parties stepped up their game and did a better job at understanding what TODAY’s issues are for Ontarians instead of what their party’s issues are for self preservation.

It’s not hard... they all have social media accounts. Perhaps they should check them instead of paid staff and they might be more in touch with everyday reality in Ontario.

 

Melanie Greenham-Burns
Energy Poverty Blogger & Activist

 

  1. at one point a couple years ago, it was revealed that for every $1 a hydro one employee contributed to their own pension, hydro rate payers were paying $5. When you factor in the large amount employees achieving “sunshine list” status, that is a lot of tax payer funded pension dollars. In 2015-2016, CEO Mayo Schmidt's pension was $64,000 and his all-in salary and compensation was in excess of $4,480,000.
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