Sep 12, 2016

By Jane Brown

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The Kathleen Wynne Liberals are hoping to reset their agenda when the Ontario legislature resumes sitting today. The Premier surprised the opposition on Thursday when she suddenly prorogued the legislature and said it would begin today as scheduled, but with the added pomp and ceremony of a throne speech.

Opposition MPPs are on the offensive over electricity rates and the province’s $300-billion debt.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa says the speech will outline a plan to offer some relief from climbing hydro bills.

“We understand that we need to mitigate the cost for everyday Ontarians so that they can have greater affordability, but at the same time, we needed to make those investments that provide for that integrity and to become more competitive long term.”

The Liberals have piled costs onto the province’s electricity system over the past 13 years. Some are in the form of upgraded infrastructure: others are lengthy contracts with private gas, wind and solar generators to provide electricity at fixed prices to replace the province’s shuttered coal plants; some are the price of running the province’s nuclear reactors, which provide the majority of Ontario’s power.

In response, the Tories suggest it’s a bit much for the Liberals to say they know people are upset about rising electricity bills and offer only vague hints of some kind of relief.

N-D-P Leader Andrea Horwath says more and more people cannot afford their hydro bills, and hospitals and schools are crumbling because of Liberal policies.

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