Premier refuses to answer for Liberals’ eco-tax increases

April 8, 2013

QUEEN’S PARK – After admitting that Ontarians deserve answers on the Liberals’ eco-tax system, Premier Kathleen Wynne refused to provide any clarification in question period today, PC Environment Critic and Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said.

“I specifically asked the Premier to clarify the contradictory statements she and her Environment Minister gave last week on the Liberals’ multi-million-dollar eco-tax scheme, yet she refused to respond,” Harris said. “Ontarians deserve answers, especially after the Environment Minister spent last week pretending he didn’t even know why eco-taxes are imposed on consumers.”

Last year, the Environment Minister approved huge eco-tax hikes on electronics – some as much as 1,000%. In January, he created a new regulation to raise eco-taxes on tires, with some fees increasing by more than 2,000%. And in February, he approved yet another massive eco-tax hike on big-screen TVs.

Despite his direct involvement, the Minister of the Environment went on Newstalk 1010 last Thursday and claimed he didn’t know why there are eco-taxes in Ontario. Wynne then contradicted him later that day and the next by saying consumers need to understand that eco-taxes “are the cost of dealing with waste.”

“To hear the Minister make these claims now is not only laughable, it’s completely dishonest. Ontarians deserve better from their government,” Harris said. “The Minister knows full well that his government’s regulations force manufacturers and importers of tires and electronics to register with and pay fees to the Liberals’ recycling agencies. And it’s the Liberals who then allow retailers to pass these costs onto consumers at the cash register in the form of an eco-tax.”

In a desperate attempt to stop the latest eco-fee fiasco, the Minister continues to blame the Waste Diversion Act for the Liberals’ massive eco-taxes.

“At every turn, the Minister cleverly avoids explaining that it was the Liberals who used this piece of legislation to create massive new bureaucracy and taxation powers,” Harris said. “The truth is that the Waste Diversion Act was introduced to create a more stable funding formula for the Blue Box program. It was the Liberals who then used it to create eco-taxes in 2008 for household hazardous materials, then in 2009 for electronics and again in 2009 for tires.”