Questions for Ontario’s Minister of Energy

November 2, 2017

Energy minister Glenn Thibeault is expected in Stratford tomorrow to attend a question-and-answer session. Ahead of the minister’s visit, Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece took the opportunity to raise a few questions of his own.

“Every day at Queen’s Park, the government tries to hide from its terrible record on energy,” Pettapiece said. “And every day we’re reminded why they call it question period, not answer period,” he quipped.

Thibeault is again on the defensive after the October 17 release of the Ontario auditor general’s devastating special report on the Liberals’ so-called “Fair Hydro Plan.”

The MPP encouraged his constituents to ask the following:

• The auditor general wrote that your government created “a needlessly complex accounting/financing structure.” That decision could cost up to $4 billion more to taxpayers, just so that it wouldn’t show up on the province’s books. Did you do it because you expected Ontarians would not notice, or because you thought they would not care?

• Why did your government spend an additional $2 million on consultants to tell you how to pull off such a questionable scheme?

• The auditor general writes: “Future governments will have to explain to ratepayers why electricity rates charged in 2028 and beyond exceed the actual cost of electricity.” In effect, you are asking future generations to pay billions more than it costs to generate their electricity – just to give today’s ratepayers a temporary break ahead of the next election. Is that “fair?” Is it moral?

• In her investigation, the auditor general asked for documentation and emails from your ministry. Your ministry has still refused to provide all the requested documents. With two former senior Liberal staffers currently on trial for destroying documents, don’t you agree that transparency is important?

• Leaked cabinet documents show energy rates declining in 2017, only to rise slightly the following year. By 2022, however, rates are projected to spike. Does that not tell us the “Fair Hydro Plan” is just a political ploy around the next election?

• Last year it was revealed that seven renewable energy companies donated $255,000 to the Ontario Liberal Party. All seven of those companies received contracts from the Ministry of Energy—even though the province is overproducing electricity and selling it at a loss. Why do you keep signing expensive contracts for new power the province does not need, and cannot afford?