Posted January 26, 2015
The Premier was quoted recently that receiving donations from the three foreign breweries that have a monopoly selling the suds in Ontario, “cannot be a consideration” when deciding what to do about the beer sales monopoly.
Elections Ontario said the beer barons donated $385,000 in the last two years to all three political parties. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), representing the beer store workers, donated another $140,000 to the Liberals and the NDP.
So, now we know the price of retaining a monopoly.
And here’s the payoff. Some 80 per cent of the annual $3 billion beer sales in Ontario is sold through The Beer Store. Most of that comes from beer brands sold by the three monopoly owners.
The Premier appointed former head TD Canada Trust banker, Ed Clark, to head a panel to discover and unlock value of various provincial assets. He has made it clear that the beer deal has value. He also says in his recent report: “The Beer Store structure steers unfair value and material advantages to its owners at the expense of taxpayers and consumers.”
The Premier says she cannot control political fundraising. But her government can, by adopting the Elections Canada system that prevents donations from lobby groups to influence a political outcome.
“All I can do is run our government the way we can with the most integrity possible,” she said in an interview.
Wynne’s record of integrity ranges back to the 2010 provincial election when, as a member of the McGuinty cabinet, she went along with the demolition of the two natural gas power generation plants in Mississauga and Oakville. The end cost to Ontario was more than $1 billion. Why? Because the residents in the area fought the construction and there were four Liberal seats that were in danger of being lost.
It made the difference between defeat and victory as the McGuinty government won enough to retain power, including those four seats in Mississauga and Oakville.
She was also involved in the Liberal government’s decision to invite private enterprise to build wind-powered and solar powered generators across the province. The 20-year price guarantees were double the cost of hydro and nuclear power.
The result is Ontario has become awash with electrical generation and is forced to sell its surplus power to adjoining jurisdictions mostly to border states at a loss.
This has driven up the price of electricity to the consumer. Ontario now has the highest priced electricity in North America. And the price goes up another 10 per cent this year. Every consumer is paying for the stranded $34 billion debt accumulated by the Old Ontario Hydro. That’s on top of the 13 per cent HST we are paying for electricity.
Let’s not forget the $1.9 billion spent on smart meters of which there was no cost benefit to consumers because the meters failed to reduce power usage.
Closer to home, there was the buyout of $458 million to rollback of teacher’s contracts negotiated by the McGuinty government, Education Minister, Liz Sandals, brought the good news to the teachers last fall who were working to rule at the expense of students. The teachers are now entering another contract negotiation with the province.
All this and the annual deficit is still stuck at $12.5 billion after four years, with less revenues and little possibility of achieving a balanced budget. Except the Liberal Finance Minister keeps predicting that the Ontario budget will be balanced by 2017.
Either this guy is a magician with the numbers or he knows something we don’t know. Both theories may be true.
Watch for increases in taxes and user fees in the spring budget. It’s his only hope because the Grits refuse to cut costs and spend more that they are bringing in.
Yes, our Premier has made the Pinocchio grade.