Here in clean, green Ontario, where the ambitions of our government know no bounds, a bright new year has dawned. Gasoline is likely to rise by 4.3 cents a litre. Your hydro bill is going up. You’ll pay more for natural gas, too. But don’t feel blue. You are helping save the planet. All of these higher costs are part of the government’s new cap-and-trade scheme, a vast multibillion-dollar enterprise that is designed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by redistributing tons of money to big emitters in California and subsidy-seekers here at home.
Unfortunately, the timing is terrible – especially for an increasing number of small- and medium-sized business owners, who can’t figure out how to make a living here any more.
Jocelyn Williams Bamford is vice-president of Automatic Coating, a small, specialty manufacturer based in Scarborough, Ont., that employs 75 people. “Our electricity costs are through the roof,” she told me. The reason is something called “global adjustments” – a fee to cover the cost of green energy and conservation programs that is unrelated to the actual cost of electricity itself. Companies like hers are facing staggering hydro bills of $30,000 or $40,000 a month – mostly because of government investments in green energy that Ontario doesn’t need and can’t use.