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August 2010
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Cabinet Shuffle and Eco Fees

Yesterday Dalton McGuinty shuffled cabinet in a hope to improve operations of Ontario Governments. Although, that’s also what he said in January when he had again shuffled cabinet. Instead of efficient, reliable government Ontarian’s were sidled with an ecofee debacle, a raid on ministries and a strengthened sense that our government is no longer serving the needs of the province.

The shuffle also saw the split of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MEI). Both with sizable mandates, they warrant having two ministers. Infrastructure is responsible for the implementation of sound infrastructure strategies for the province; given that the population of the province is exploding and our current infrastructure is aging and failing, this is no small feat to accomplish. Energy is responsible for developing the energy policy framework that is central to the building of a strong and prosperous economy for Ontario; green energy, smart-metering, conservation, etc … again more work than one minister should be responsible for. To be fair to Ontarian’s and to move this province in the right direction MEI needed a split, let’s just hope it wasn’t too late.

Now that the Ministry of the Environment has a new leader, will it be enough to undue the mistakes made with an Eco-fee?

An eco-tax was inevitable. To move from cradle-to-grave to cradle-to-cradle (i.e. eliminating and minimizing our waste) a fee was needed to encourage consumers to buy more eco-friendly products and to choose products with less packaging. My favourite criticism of the new tax (because it’s not a fee, it is a tax) is

Taxpayers on the hook as eco fees scrapped.”

And who else was going to pay for it? I must have missed something but I believe that most people paying the eco-tax also pay their provincial taxes. Granted how the tax payments are distributed may not be as equal as if we all had bought our own products. But don’t blame Queens Park for that the media spun the eco-tax as evil. Why don’t we sidle them with the millions of dollars that will be generated from the eco-tax? But then again what’s the point?

Until there is transparency as to where our eco-tax is spent and who get’s what proportion of it, no one should be footing the bill.

Maybe the money generated from the eco-tax should be donated to those suffering from the flooding in Pakistan, Kashmir, China and all the other places we never hear about. After all at least we would know where are money was going.