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NDP bill lowers some home heating costs. Libs oppose idea

Sunday, March 23, 2014   by: Rick McGee

Union Gas customers will face even more than a 20 percent supplier price increase if the Ontario Energy Board approves the company’s request for higher natural gas rates.

Homeowners will also pay a 13 percent levy under Ontario’s Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

As SooToday.com reported earlier, higher natural gas bills could become a reality by next month.

The HST includes provincial (8 percent) and federal (5 percent) components.

There was no provincial tax on home heating before July 1, 2010.

On that date, the Liberal government under Dalton McGuinty implemented a new provincial tax on home heating as the HST came into effect.

In November 2011, Michael Mantha, the NDP provincial representative for Algoma-Manitoulin, introduced a private member’s bill to remove the provincial portion of the HST from Ontario residents heating with with natural gas or or oil.

Passing the bill, Mantha claimed, would mean savings of at least $100 for many households.

“It is a fact that the Liberal government made staying warm a lot more expensive for Ontarians by adding the HST to the cost of home heating,” Mantha said in the legislature at the time.

“This was done in the face of overall energy costs which are expected to grow by 50 percent over the next five years. Everywhere we look, costs are going up, and adding the HST adds these costs where Ontarians can least afford to manage it.

“It also puts greater stress on people living on fixed incomes, people living in homes they cannot afford to insulate; in short, those who can least afford it. Every time a household heating bill goes up by $1, it actually goes up by $1.13. It adds up; it all adds up.”

Liberal Bob Delaney spoke against the bill during the debate.

“There is no free lunch,” the MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville said. “What is given in one tax measure to one group of people has to be taken from another. The member will agree that he is asking Ontarians to take a precious $350 million away from one group of taxpayers and transfer that money to another group of taxpayers, and it’s the wrong group in both cases.

“The overwhelming majority of homes are heated by one of two fuels: electricity and natural gas. The member’s proposal would actually raise prices for those whose homes are heated by electricity. Ontario’s clean energy benefit, which is already the law of the land, takes 10 percent, not 8 percent, off hydro bills, no matter what you use hydro for. The member’s proposal then is a tax grab, pure and simple.

“The clean energy benefit saves the typical householder about $150 per year, or to put it another way, that’s all the HST on $1,875 in electricity purchases. That pays all the HST on a bimonthly hydro bill of $312- and that’s a lot of electricity.”

Then-Liberal Financial Minister Dwight Duncan attacked the NDP proposal in the media.

Duncan also cited nearly $350 million a year in lost revenue and said raising corporate taxes to compensate would be no answer.

Not surprisingly, the Liberals - including Sault MPP David Orazietti - voted against the bill at second reading.

Conservatives supported NDP in vote

But Tory support helped Mantha’s bill pass narrowly and move to the committee stage.

North Bay's Vic Fedeli, who represents the Nipissing riding, was among Tories lending support.

"We have all heard stories from people who are struggling - really struggling - to pay their home heating bills. This is especially true, as my colleague from Algoma-Manitoulin pointed out, in northern Ontario, where heating isn’t a luxury; it’s an absolute necessity. Our winters are longer in the north. Our winters are colder in the north.

"Let me give you a real-life example of the differences. This is something that occurred throughout the last election campaign when I knocked on the door of Roger and Monique Beaulieu. They live on King Street in North Bay, Ontario, which was my boyhood home. I knocked on their door, and we chatted about their energy bills. I asked them to show me their hydro bill and their natural gas bill. While my colleague from Algoma-Manitoulin suggests it’s $100 savings, let me tell you that for Roger and Monique Beaulieu it is $243.60. That is the difference that they would save because of the colder winter and the longer winter - $243.60 in the pockets of that hard-working family, the Beaulieus in North Bay, Ontario.

"This bill can make a meaningful difference in the lives of Ontario families, families like the Beaulieus. Our party will be supporting this bill as it meets the criteria for one of our three priorities, and that is to support families and give them the relief they need."

Mantha's bill ultimately stalled in committee and then died on the order paper when Dalton McGuinty prorogued the legislature in 2012.

However, the first-term NDP member reintroduced the proposal last December.

“Since 2011, when I previously introduced this bill, things have gotten even less affordable for the average Ontario family,” said Mantha. “Everything seems to be getting more expensive, yet Ontarians who have managed to hang on to their jobs generally aren’t seeing big raises, and thousands of Ontarians have lost their jobs. This bill is a simple way to put some hard-earned money back in the pockets of the people who need it most.”

The rookie MPP went on to bemoan a “constant stream of examples of Liberal government waste, and the threat of 42 percent higher power rates.”

Asked by SooToday.com to comment on Mantha’s efforts, Orazietti called the proposal “politically convenient” and said the bill didn’t provide for savings offsets or indicate what services would be cut to pay as a result of tax dollars lost to the provincial treasury.

He added that any reduction would require federal government agreement.

Comments
25
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
scottstewy123 3/23/2014 12:55:59 PM Report

DAVID O you are full of it. I JUST WISH the NDP would stop propping this government up and call an election and VOTE David O and the corrupt Liberials out on to the street.
soowat 3/23/2014 12:59:18 PM Report

If the Provincial portion of the HST is removed,the government of whatever party will add a tax on something else because they want the money. The idea of cutting waste and improving efficiency is something to which all three parties pay only lip service.Bottom line is I am not a business owner so the Libsd and Cons aren't in my corner and experience has taught me that if you aren't a card carrying sign waving union member the NDP don't give a B.R.A. about your issues.
happy camper 3/23/2014 12:59:50 PM Report

You know what crime is ?. Letting the government give so much money away to other countries and leaveing the people who pay taxes to them. So they can do the right thing by us . But instead they SCREW US OVER all the time. The provincial government screws up on allmost everything (gas plants for one ) and we still pay ! When will we the people stand up to these criminals and have the courts hold the leaders responsible for the dammage they have done to the people of this country?
kamen 3/23/2014 1:02:14 PM Report

Of course they oppose, they would oppose anything that may help anyone with their bills...it's time for the liberals to get out, but you know for a fact that somehow they will weasel their way back in again next election....I don't understand how, everyone I know votes NDP, not one person votes liberal. How the hell is it that they can still be up on top?
Verbatim 3/23/2014 1:15:52 PM Report

right now as we speak our government owes 1.4 trilion on the debt. This is approximately 500 billion more than we have of money on the entire planet, why, because we are paying huge amounts of taxes to pay down the interest on this bill. The interest comes by way of having to pay back the principle the govenment borrows plus the interest on that principle. If we want to save money we need to remove the middle man, that is stopping borrowing from someone who doesnt even have the right under our charter to even make the money. Read article, either 6 or 9 of our charter and yuo will see what I mean.If we eliminate this process the government would save hundreds if not billions in payments each year. Peoplae need to be educated on who makes our money who controls it and why we have debt..its just that simple
KDawg 3/23/2014 1:17:10 PM Report

The Liberals are so full of shit I can smell it through my monitor reading this article. Liberal Bob Delaney says,

"“There is no free lunch,” the MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville said. “What is given in one tax measure to one group of people has to be taken from another."

Then Orazietti says, "the bill didn’t provide for savings offsets or indicate what services would be cut to pay as a result of last tax dollars to the provincial treasury."

Where is it written that a tax reduction in one area means someone else's taxes have to be increased? The level of taxation in this province is obscene, to put it mildly.

Ontario does not have a revenue problem... we have a spending problem thanks to the corrupt Liberals.
Javaman 3/23/2014 1:17:52 PM Report

There are quite a few people who feel David O should be spared and be re-elected. I do not buy that notion. As a rep of this city he supported everything McGuilty and LOSERWYNNE put forth. He cannot sneak out of the mess his party created. He must be replaced and shown the door. We do not need a "nice guy" but rather one that has a backbone and is willing to stand up to party politics that are obviously wrong.
I'm In 3/23/2014 1:20:09 PM Report

kamen Its Southern Ontario that votes Liberal and PC, its the north that votes NDP except SSM, because its the mentality of SSM to vote for the ruling parties and just look what SSM received from them (nothing to help the middle/poor working class). Like I said before our Social Safety Net is being eroded by these rich man political parties.
Zee1948 3/23/2014 1:20:45 PM Report

“The clean energy benefit saves the typical householder about $150 per year, or to put it another way, that’s all the HST on $1,875 in electricity purchases. That pays all the HST on a bimonthly hydro bill of $312- and that’s a lot of electricity.”'

$150 per yr... My HST on my "high efficiency" electric furnace bills have been $138 per month.

My last 3 hydro bills total $2960... almost $1000 per month. This is with my thermostat set to 65 degrees.

The tax on this is a killer... I think the 13% HST on Hydro should be replaced with a more reasonable 5% energy tax.

Aside from the taxes on the hydro, the bill is usually double the hydro used... A $325.50 delivery charge , the$35.53 regulatory charges,the HST, the 11.60 debt retirement... can turn a $504 hydro charge into a THOUSAND DOLLAR BILL real quick.


This hurts.... as I have tried every means possible to keep the hydro consumption down... so much so that even paying $1000 a month for our heat.. we are uncomfortable.. to keep our house an even 70 degrees would push the bills closer to $1500 per month.

This is not right.
Just Curious 3/23/2014 2:00:01 PM Report

ZEE 1948; You should have done a bit of research before buying an Electric furnace or purchasing a house with one in it. They are right on top of the list of most inefficient ways of heating your house.. Baseboard heating is way cheaper even. My stepson bought a small house with an Electric furnace and his costs were thru the roof and that was a few years ago..He pulled it the second year and installed gas. The new owner has went with hot water heating and is saving even more..
fishinbuddy 3/23/2014 2:13:48 PM Report

VOTE THE LIBERALS OUT OF EXISTANCE. The alternative get ready to move since we are about to have the same thing happen in Ontario that happened in Michigan. You can only live on borrowed money for so long. There is no easy answer to any of it. Canadians in general need to figure out what they can afford.All services should be cut or eliminated if they don't make sense. I feel sick when I think about our childrens futures and the futures of those who don't make enough to get by even living with the basics. How could this govt destry this great country in such a short period of time...... simple greed at all levels
ThinkAgain 3/23/2014 2:25:15 PM Report

Suck it up buttercup, we can't do anything about, just pay - as long as we only have the 3 same parties year after year, nothing will change.

Let the province go Bankrupt
Javaman 3/23/2014 2:41:45 PM Report

I THINK it is fair to say that none of the 3 main Ontario parties will have a solution to the debt crisis. The NDP and the CONS are good at lambasting the Liberals for all the woes that ail us...and they should. However...have you heard one concrete way in which the other 2 parties would get us out of this mess? Do you feel Hudak can deliver...whatever he plans to delive ? Should HORWARTH even be considered in the next election since she propped up the Liberals and allowed tehm to spend even more?
fishinbuddy 3/23/2014 3:02:55 PM Report

in 1983 I paid 360 per month rent plus puc. I made 28000 a year and I had some disposable income. Today I make 83000 and have little disposable income. Back thenI got by with a used car, now I have two newer cars. by the way only one is new and that's the first new car Ive ever owned and Ive been working for over thirty years and I am aware Im fortunate and grateful to have had a job that long. When you see these numbers you would think well that guy has lots of money. In reality costs have risen to a point where even on that income its tough raising children, university, groceries etc. Rent today is obscene. 1000 a month is the norm plus heat and puc in most cases. Wages for youth are a joke of course, minimum wage is not a living wage. If you can find a job and want to live fairly well you must relocate to another province will just say west of here.
To put it in perspective a single parent without a job and five children receives over 3000 a month child tax, that's 36000 a year clear money. In addition they qualify for welfare and the numerous subsidies provided, Ontario Child tax benefit, trillium etc etc That person would have to make 60000 a year to be better off working, so could someone explain why anyone would ever want to go to work and please don't say work ethic. Everyone wants a decent standard of living but not everyone is willing to work for it. The 70s were the heydays, the eighties were the beginning of the end with nothing but increases coming in the near future. But don't worry if your lucky enough your employer may give you a 2% wage increase. Of course they will have to raise taxes to do it, but what the hell the liberals have tons of orazoonies to hand out for special interest groups votes. A liberal vote is a vote for more taxation plain and simple. one additional point the govt cant do anything to stop your heat, electricity,and gasoline to name a few from increasing. Big business is the boss. Money talks bullshit is saved for the politicians. Don't believe me check out their pension plans. They'll have heat in the future.
guard1 3/23/2014 3:45:37 PM Report

Javaman, change is good, we should of not waited this long to change governing parties. Parties left in power too long think they are invincible. I say next election vote in the NDP as the governing party. They are for the working class, the low income families and pensioners.
steelworker 3/23/2014 3:49:15 PM Report

The NDP would make the Libs look smart in comparison.
Javaman 3/23/2014 3:53:43 PM Report

I am willing to give the NDP a chance, I will not vote Liberal and have a dislike for Hudak and his party...so that leaves the NDP .Lets hope they come up with a great local NDP candidate.
Prouddipper67 3/23/2014 3:54:35 PM Report

This is old news. This issue was dealt with years ago. This smells odd to me. We are blaming the government for gas increases but if you remember gas prices in the early 2000s were more than 24 cents a cubic meter and now they are 12 cents. This is a commodity traded on a world market. Even if the gas price increased by 100% we would still be paying less than the early 2000s. The bottom line is that if the government subsidizes these increases the money has to come from somewhere. WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. WE WILL BE PAYING FOR THIS!
irishfey 3/23/2014 4:23:40 PM Report

I and my family have always voted NDP... Now i have heard some folk say don"t vote for them as they will never get in and by doing so, you just give your vote over to one of the other a** holes Party!.. Folks are afraid to vote NDP, as of this!.. Time for folks to just band together and all vote NDP and not be afraid to anymore!.. They are the only party that is for the small and middle class!... JUST DO IT!!!
irishfey 3/23/2014 4:28:49 PM Report

Someone before mentioned that we should stand up and revolt.... why not? They do it in other Countries. We have just a bunch of cowards here that will sit back and do nothing! For shame on all of us!!
B Boy 3/23/2014 4:39:31 PM Report

The last time the NDP was in power, they devastated Ontario.

The last time the PC's were in power, they devastated Ontario.

The Liberals are currently in power and they are devastating Ontario.

Time to consider other parties. These three obviously don't care about Ontario.

KFM 3/23/2014 4:52:23 PM Report

Just wonder how they came up with 350 million in lost taxes that would be transfered to another group when that tax wasn't even there before they added it to gas and electric. It wasn't lost, just a tax grab so they could bank roll all the waste they have produced. By Davie, hope you find other work because you have definately burned your bridges in your previous profesion!
eadiecougs 3/23/2014 10:53:55 PM Report

everyone stop paying their taxes plain and simple.they cant arrest all of us we are weak as canadians no balls.I like what europe does cause riots.This is the only way governments will listen and stop spending us into hell. no more gold plated pensions for senators no more for prime minsters and government workers
Taye70 3/23/2014 11:38:36 PM Report

I wonder how much more us tax payers will take before we find our voices and some balls to stand up and spank our government back into submission.... After all, they are supposed to be working for us... A basic knowledge long forgotten and turned around ass backwards.
ranny 3/24/2014 3:30:18 PM Report

Toilet papers are on sale for the Liberal and Gas Company.

Someone from the Liberal accept their campaign money and promise to do the following thing. This is why they're backing up all the Hydro and Gas company.

If the gas company says they're losing money, I better see "record breaking profit" as their quarter profit report on the news.

Some people are correct that why are the government spending money on other countries when they should be helping their own???? Most of these government should be in jail.

Calling an election isn't going to help much because they're not representing the people. They're all a bunch of Yes people who are told to do whatever their party leader says. We no longer have a voice to represent the people, it's a bunch of Yes and butt kisser. If voting against their own party member, they'll probably be fined.
Comments
25
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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