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Liberals caught plotting to impose $18 million in new Drive Clean fees

June 4, 2013

QUEEN’S PARK – Today, Environment Minister Jim Bradley would not rule out a Liberal scheme to increase Drive Clean fees by more than $18 million when asked directly about the contents of recently uncovered treasury-board documents disclosed by the Ontario PC Party, PC Environment Critic and Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said.

“The Minister’s inability to again answer a simple question about Drive Clean indicates that the Liberals will do everything in their power to defend this program, which has become nothing more than a government cash grab,” Harris said shortly after question period. “It’s time for the Minister to come clean and tell Ontarians that the Liberals’ true motivation for keeping this program is only to make more money, not protect the environment.”

Even though the Liberals already collect $11 million more than they need to operate the Drive Clean program, they’re looking to fleece Ontario drivers for another $18.3 million, bringing the total of government fees for this program to $50 million a year.

Drive Clean was introduced by the former PC government in 1999 as a temporary measure to reduce smog in certain areas of the province with higher levels of pollutants. This program was then supposed to be phased out 10 years after its inception, as technology and fuel standards improved.

“The facts don’t lie. From 1999 to 2010, the pass rate for Drive Clean rose from 84% to 95%, meaning better emission-control technologies in vehicles have rendered the program redundant,” Harris said. “Drive Clean has achieved its objective, so we have called on the Liberal government to begin the planned phase out of this program.”

Instead, the Liberals have been working to make the program permanent by signing a sole-sourced contract with Parsons Canada Limited to build, design and operate the Liberals’ new computerized Drive Clean test, which has led to a spike in failures, not because of emissions-related problems, but because of a computer glitch.

The Ontario PC Party has called for Drive Clean to be scrapped and has launched a website to advance this cause, where concerned Ontarians can sign an online petition or download a petition form to fill out and send to the Legislative Assembly. For more information, log on to ScrapDriveClean.ca.