Liberals relying on eco-taxes, red-tape for jobs strategy

October 4, 2013

QUEEN’S PARK – Still without a real plan for the economy, the Liberals have spent the last couple of weeks claiming that continuing eco-taxes, doubling the costs of the Blue Box program and creating new taxes for Ontario consumers will lead to more jobs, PC Environment Critic and Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said today.

“This view of the economy shows why the Liberals lost 300,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs over the last 10 years,” Harris said. “Government shouldn’t take money from consumers’ pockets to create jobs in one sector. It should create the right conditions for economic growth, regulate the marketplace and let the private sector take care of job creation.”

The Liberals have maintained the opposite view as they continue their attempts to advance Bill 91, the Waste Reduction Act. Despite the Environment Minister’s claims, Bill 91 continues every Liberal eco-tax program and creates new taxes to fund the expansion of the province’s recycling agency, Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO).

“WDO is the agency that approved each and every Liberal eco-tax imposed on Ontario consumers, yet it has had to answer to no one because it’s outside of the Environment Ministry. That’s why we have said to restore true accountability, WDO must be eliminated and all oversight authority should be brought back into the Ministry where it truly belongs,” Harris said.

“Unfortunately, the Liberals rejected our proposal and have tabled a bill that will give WDO extensive new powers to impose new taxes, enforce the law and arbitrarily decide how much Ontario businesses have to pay for the Blue Box program.”

Currently, Ontario businesses and municipalities split the costs of the Blue Box program 50/50. Under Bill 91, the Liberals want to empower WDO to raise the amount businesses pay without providing a property-tax offset. That would mean Ontario consumers would have to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in new costs every year while getting no relief on their tax bill.

In November last year, the Ontario PC Caucus presented a better way forward to protect consumers, clean up the environment and to treat recyclable materials – not as waste – but as valuable resources that we should recover and recycle into new products.

“We would start by scrapping eco-taxes, eliminating WDO and returning the Environment Ministry to its role as a tough regulator,” Harris said. “Under our plan, the Ministry would set measurable and achievable recycling targets, establish environmental standards, measure outcomes and enforce the rules. That’s it.”