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RCO





Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:29 am    Post subject: auditor wynne's hydro ads could be partisan Reply with quote

‘A pat on the back’: Taxpayer-funded ads on Wynne’s hydro bill cut could be partisan, auditor says


Allison Jones, The Canadian Press | March 17, 2017 5:00 PM ET
More from The Canadian Press
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Premier Kathleen Wynne answers questions about hydro among other things at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ont. on March 6, 2017.



TORONTO — New taxpayer-funded ads from the Ontario Liberal government about its plan to cut hydro bills could be considered partisan, the auditor general said Friday.

The two ads, running on radio stations across the province, tell listeners that people will receive an average of 25 per cent off their hydro bills this summer and rate increases are being held to inflation for four years.

“Ontario has made important investments in clean, reliable energy,” the narrator says in one ad. “This has led to hydro bills that have become harder to pay. We’ve heard you and we’re taking action with the fair hydro plan.”

The Progressive Conservatives say the purpose of the ads appear to be to raise the government’s standing in the eyes of voters, at a time when anger over rising electricity costs has contributed to their decline in the polls.

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The ads likely wouldn’t have been approved under old government advertising rules, said auditor general Bonnie Lysyk, who has said changes the Liberals enacted in 2015 reduced her office to a rubber stamp.

“Under the previous legislation it would likely not have passed because it does convey a positive impression of the current government and it’s more like a pat-on-the-back type of advertisement,” she said.

A spokesman for Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said the ads inform people and direct them to a website where they can learn more about the upcoming changes.

“The Ontario government has a responsibility to raise awareness and communicate information about programs and services that affect Ontarians,” Colin Nekolaichuk said in a statement. “This includes informing Ontarians of changes to their electricity bills so that they can use this information to plan for the future as they manage their household budgets.”


Criag Robertson/Toronto Sun

Criag Robertson/Toronto SunOfficial Leader of the Opposition Patrick Brown is scrummed after question period at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ont. on March 6, 2017. .

Lysyk said in her last annual report that she had cautioned the government that changing the rules would end up giving taxpayers the bill for millions of dollars in partisan advertising.

“Sure enough, the government walked right through that open door,” she said.

The old rules banned ads as partisan if the intent was to foster a positive impression of government or a negative impression of its critics, but the new rules say an ad is partisan only if it uses an elected member’s picture, name or voice, the colour or logo associated with the political party, or directly criticizes a party or member of the legislature.

Of the approximately $50 million in government ads during the 2015-16 fiscal year, Lysyk said she would have flagged several under the old rules as misleading or self-congratulatory.

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown wrote Friday to the president of the Treasury Board, the department that controls the government purse strings, about the ads.

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“Your government has no authority to be spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars on partisan radio and social media ads to promote a plan that has not yet been tabled, debated, and voted on in the legislature,” Brown wrote to Liz Sandals.

“I am concerned that these ads serve a partisan purpose that aim to improve the government’s standing among the public using taxpayer dollars.”

Brown called on Sandals to release the cost of the ad buy.

The NDP said it was filing Freedom of Information requests to learn the cost.

“Not one dime has come off people’s sky-rocketing hydro bills and (Premier Kathleen) Wynne hasn’t tabled legislation, or even a credible plan to save us money, yet she’s spending more of people’s hard-earned dollars on ads claiming the problem is solved,” energy critic Peter Tabuns said in a statement.

http://news.nationalpost.com/n.....ditor-says
Bugs





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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Forced death of a main street family business in village of Athens
By Wayne Lowrie, Postmedia Network
Friday, March 17, 2017 10:57:22 EDT AM

ATHENS - For 47 years, Swan’s Variety, a family-run institution in this village, has survived a major fire, recessions and the snakes-and-ladders economic challenges of running a business in rural Ontario.

But owner Karen Swan says crushing hydro-rate increases, high taxes and government regulations have proved just too much for her small Main Street store.

Today, Swan will close her business for good.

“It breaks my heart, I don’t want to do it,” Swan said. “I’ve poured my life into this place.”

The 56-year-old life-long Athens resident said she doesn’t have any other choice. Last month’s hydro bill was $7,000 because of delivery and other surcharges – an anomaly, for sure – but her hydro bills average $2,000 to $3,000 or more a month.

“They kill you; they kill the little guy,” she said of the hydro rates, which cost a quarter of that only a few years ago.
[Emphasis added]

On top of the hydro bill are property taxes of close to $4,000 a year and Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance payments of around $1,000 a month for her two full-time and one part-time employees. The government regulations and harassment by the “tobacco police,” who enforce provincial cigarette laws factor in as well.

Swan said she can’t make ends meet and is losing money every month, so she has no choice but to shut down. [....]
http://www.recorder.ca/2017/03.....-of-athens


FYI: Athens is a small village near Brockville, Ontario. This is, no doubt, a marginal business, but it's a canary in the coal mine. It shows the impact of hydro rates on the economy. Many businesses will be able to absorb the impact, but will be affected in other ways. Perhaps they will lay off employees, or forget expansion plans, but we won't see this.
RCO





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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect there has been many other small businesses that have closed and high hydro bills have been a factor in there decision to close .

most of these businesses are so small there is not going to be newspaper articles written about the closures , I know in the downtown on one of the major towns near where I live there has been at least 5 or 6 businesses/restaurants close since fall . was the hydro the only reason they closed ? I doubt . as major chains and online/internet sales are taking there toll . but the high hydro bills are definitely not helping our downtowns and the already struggling small businesses .
RCO





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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wynne Liberals’ partisan hydro ads in contempt of parliament: PCs


'Clearly, these advertisements serve no purpose other than to promote Kathleen Wynne’s re-election'
1 shares
8 minutes ago by: BayToday Staff

wynne, kathleen
Kathleen Wynne


Ontario PC's today charged that Kathleen Wynne’s taxpayer-funded hydro ads are in contempt of parliament.

MPP Wilson informed the Speaker today that he will rise on a point of privilege arguing a case of contempt by the Ministry of Energy.

"The self-congratulatory ads, which the auditor general has said are out of line, are running before legislation has been introduced, an alleged breach of parliamentary rules," says a PC news release.


Advertisement


House Leader Jim Wilson said “What we’ve got here is a clear case of electioneering from the Wynne Liberals using taxpayer dollars.”

The ads in question appeared on both social media and radio markets across Ontario.

Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown has already written to Minister Liz Sandals asking her to immediately stop the ad campaign, release a detailed account of the budget for these advertisements, as well as which consulting firms received the contracts.

"These ads are potentially costing millions of dollars while families, businesses, hospitals, schools and other institutions suffer every day from affordable electricity bills," continues the release.

“Neither MPPs nor the public even know what the new hydro scheme looks like, what it will cost, and who will get left behind,” added Wilson. “Clearly, these advertisements serve no purpose other than to promote Kathleen Wynne’s re-election.”

“Based on past parliamentary rulings, we feel that we’ve got a very strong case. We look forward to hearing the ruling of the Speaker,” said Wilson, noting that the Ministry of Energy has previously confirmed that legislation is needed to enact this new hydro scheme.

https://www.baytoday.ca/local-news/wynne-liberals-partisan-hydro-ads-in-contempt-of-parliament-pcs-566031
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The shameless gall of Premier Wynne


First posted: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 09:25 PM EDT | Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 09:29 PM EDT



editorial
Ontarians should be prepared for repeated displays of chutzpah by Premier Kathleen Wynne as next year’s provincial election approaches. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/TORONTO SUN)


There’s a word in Yiddish that perfectly describes the political philosophy of Premier Kathleen Wynne.

It’s “chutzpah”, which means shameless audacity, impudence or gall.

Ontarians should be prepared for repeated displays of chutzpah by Wynne as next year’s provincial election approaches.

The latest example is a new government radio ad that Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk describes as overtly partisan.

That means it should not have been paid for by taxpayers, but by the Liberal Party of Ontario.

In the ad, explaining Wynne’s plan to reduce hydro rates (by taking on more public debt), the narrator tells the audience, among other things, “We’ve heard you” — meaning the Liberal government.

That is so absurdly partisan that no one — except for Wynne’s Liberal government — would seriously claim otherwise.

“We’ve” heard you? Who’s “we”? The Wynne Liberals, of course.

Further, as both PC Leader Patrick Brown and NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns have pointed out, the ad is hyping a government policy that hasn’t happened yet.

The hydro rate cuts don’t even start until June 1.

But Wynne’s chutzpah — her shameless gall — goes further.

That’s because in 2015 she gutted a law passed by her predecessor — Dalton McGuinty — that empowered the auditor general to disallow partisan government advertising, over the specific objections of the auditor general.

As Lysyk explained to Sun Political Bureau Chief Shawn Jeffords in an email regarding the appropriateness of Wynne’s hydro ad:

“Our office approved the hydro-related ads under the current version of the Government Advertising Act. However, they would not have passed under the previous legislation because we feel that these ads have the objective of fostering a positive impression of the government.”

In fact, ever since 2015, the Wynne Liberals have repeatedly run ads that Lysyk has described as inappropriately partisan and “self-congratulatory” — for example on their now-defunct Ontario pension plan.

That means they’re spending millions of taxpayer dollars — in the opinion of the auditor general — promoting themselves in ads that should be paid for by the Liberal party.

The one bit of good news is that Lysyk has cleverly continued to comment on these partisan ads as if the old law was in place, demonstrating the positive side of chutzpah, which can also mean boldness or daring.

http://www.torontosun.com/2017.....mier-wynne
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Government Advertising what the Government Does;

I love piling on the OLP as much as the next guy;
However is this any different than the Federal Conservatives "Economic Action Plan" Ads?
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
The Government Advertising what the Government Does;

I love piling on the OLP as much as the next guy;
However is this any different than the Federal Conservatives "Economic Action Plan" Ads?



I agree in Ontario this has been going on for some time , I think of the highway construction signs as one example . when the Ontario pc's in power from 1995-2003 they were blue and resembled pc signs . but as soon as the liberals got in they switched them to red and now they resemble liberal signs


I think overall voters are tired of it and would like the partisanship to leave the governments daily business


as for these radio ads , I saw a thing online and the liberals are handing out flyers in Toronto that are almost identical to the government ads , there clearly partisan liberal party advertising being passed along as government ads
Bugs





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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RCO wrote:
cosmostein wrote:
The Government Advertising what the Government Does;

I love piling on the OLP as much as the next guy;
However is this any different than the Federal Conservatives "Economic Action Plan" Ads?



I agree in Ontario this has been going on for some time , I think of the highway construction signs as one example . when the Ontario pc's in power from 1995-2003 they were blue and resembled pc signs . but as soon as the liberals got in they switched them to red and now they resemble liberal signs


I think overall voters are tired of it and would like the partisanship to leave the governments daily business


as for these radio ads , I saw a thing online and the liberals are handing out flyers in Toronto that are almost identical to the government ads , there clearly partisan liberal party advertising being passed along as government ads


I also agree -- this kind of thing has a long history. I don't think the public are tired of it -- I think they quite reasonably expect it.

It's just that the Wynne gang seem to be doing it more effectively than others.
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