Liberals prop up tire-recycling monopoly with new eco-tax formula

April 15, 2013

QUEEN’S PARK – The Liberal government has again proved it will stop at nothing to save its troubled tire-recycling program with its latest changes to the eco-tax funding formula, PC Environment Critic and Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said today.

In response to the outrage from farmers across the province, the Liberals have begun tinkering with their eco-tax funding formula to delay part of the massive new charges being added to farmers’ bills for tractors and farm equipment.

“Now instead of a 2,000% eco-tax increase on tires, farmers will face a 1,000% increase only to have the next 1,000% tacked onto the bill sometime next year” Harris said in question period today.

The eco-tax on a front combine tire, for example, rose from $15.29 to $352.80 on April 1, but will now be rolled back to $182.28 – which still represents an increase of nearly 1,100%.

“Only a Liberal could consider lowering the increase to 1,000% just to collect the next 1,000% the following year as a solution,” Harris said. “This is tantamount to adjusting the rate of return on a Ponzi scheme. Lower rates may prop the system up for a while, but it’s only a matter of time before the whole thing collapses.”

Farmers across the province were outraged after learning they would have to fork out thousands of dollars more every year to pay for massive new eco-taxes in order to fund the Liberal government’s tire-recycling monopoly: Ontario Tire Stewardship.

“Environment Minister Jim Bradley continued to drag his feet, making nearly every excuse in the book why the latest round of eco-tax hikes was just the ‘cost of doing business’ here in the province,” said Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP and PC Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “That answer is simply not acceptable to Ontario’s farmers.”

Hardeman launched a petition last month, calling on the Liberals to stop their massive eco-tax increases. To date, hundreds of farmers have contacted his office and hundreds more have signed petitions demanding that the increases be reversed.

Rather than truly address the problem, the Environment Minister went on damage control, looking for a way out.

The PC Party announced last November that it would abolish the government’s toothless recycling watchdog, Waste Diversion Ontario, and eliminate the Liberals’ recycling programs for tires, electronics and household hazardous materials, such as paint and batteries.

“Government needs to return to its role as a regulator and leave recycling to the free-market,” Harris said. “Instead of setting and approving eco-taxes, government should be setting measurable and achievable waste diversion targets, establishing environmental standards and monitoring outcomes. That’s it.”