October 12, 2010
Notes for a speech that Ontario’s Opposition leader could give, but won’t, on the state of the province’s electricity sector
Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is a keynote speaker tomorrow at the Ontario Energy Association. Here is the speech he should, but won’t, give.
Let me start by apologizing for my party’s role in putting this province on the path to ruin. We are now seeing massive energy price hikes in communities throughout the province. These hikes are just the beginning. Power rates in Ontario will be doubling or tripling in the years ahead. It would be tempting, but dishonest, to blame this all on the Liberals and on the NDP. We Conservatives have been every bit as much to blame. In some ways, perhaps, we are the most of all to blame, because we were the ones who pulled the plug on the privatization of the old Ontario Hydro system, a privatization we ourselves had begun.
I am referring, of course, to that day in 2002 when Ernie Eves, the last Conservative premier of this province, panicked and stopped the privatization that Mike Harris began. Had he showed some spine and the courage of his convictions, Ontario would now have a secure power system delivering some of the lowest power prices on the continent, just as occurred elsewhere after deregulation. Instead, the provincial economy struggles under the bureaucratic weight of an alphabet soup of government electricity monopolies with names like OPG, OPA and IESO.
Europe has other lessons for us, too. The more that countries went green, the harder they fell. In Spain, the biggest green subsidizer of all, every green job that the government created cost more than two jobs elsewhere in the economy. Spain’s unemployment rate is now 20%, the highest in the developed world.