Liberals remain divided on how to prop up failed eco-tax programs

May 9, 2013

QUEEN’S PARK – In question period today, Premier Kathleen Wynne again refused to provide the clarification she said Ontarians deserve, regarding the Liberals’ overly bureaucratic eco-tax programs that cost hundreds of millions of dollars every year, PC Environment Critic and Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said today.

“I’ve been asking the Liberal government to be honest with Ontarians for months,” Harris said. “But every time the Liberals defend the government’s ability to impose eco-taxes on consumers and fail provide clarification on the contradictory positions between the Premier and the Environment Minister.”

Sources close to the government say that the disagreement between Wynne and Environment Minister Jim Bradley is so bad that the Premier has personally taken over the waste diversion file in an effort to avoid a fiasco similar to the one that unfolded in July 2010.

“It must be somewhat embarrassing for a senior minister to have the Premier assume responsibility for an issue he should have fixed more than a year and a half ago,” Harris said. “Still, there remains a fundamental disagreement between the Premier and the Minister on how to prop up the Liberals’ failed eco-tax programs, which first were created in 2008 by Dalton McGuinty in a secret Cabinet meeting.”

After approving eco-tax increases of up to 2,200% on tires and electronics earlier this year, the Environment Minister went on Newstalk 1010 on April 4 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.”

Last November, the PC Party presented a comprehensive solution to eliminate eco-taxes, increase waste diversion, stimulate economic growth in the recycling sector and drive down costs for businesses.

“This proposal was rejected out of hand by the Environment Minister who claimed that businesses couldn’t operate independently and instead needed government-created monopolies to control the entire recycling market,” Harris said.

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.”