The Liberals issued a press release yesterday afternoon attacking Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak over his – and his caucus’s – confusion regarding eco fees. It appears as if the Tories are uncertain as to who exactly will be made to pay for recycling these materials if they win the general election in October.
From the Liberal Press Release:
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario has issued a warning that Tim Hudak’s policy on eco-fees risks higher property taxes for Ontarians, as the costs of safely disposing of hazardous products are downloaded onto municipalities.
“It is not clear from the platform who will pay for the safe disposal of these products however if it falls to municipal property taxpayers, this would be unfortunate. AMO supports the polluter pays principle as key to environmental stewardship and believes that manufacturers must pay the full cost of their goods, including safe, environmentally responsible disposal.”
Shell games are designed to confuse, and Tim Hudak’s eco-fee shell game is no different. In fact, AMO is not alone in their confusion about Hudak’s eco-fee plans. Even Hudak’s own caucus members don’t have a clue what he would actually do.
Three weeks ago, PC MPP Ted Arnott told the media the only substantive change Hudak had was hiding the fee in the price. Arnott was clear: the producer-pay principle, originally introduced by Mike Harris in 2002, would stay.
Then, a week later, PC MPP Garfield “Mileage Man” Dunlop gave reporters a completely different answer. He said that the PCs would scrap the existing recycling program infrastructure but still require that hazardous products be recycled. The more questions reporters asked, the more it became obvious that neither Dunlop nor the PCs had a clue who they were going to charge to pay for the recycling.
Later that same day, PC “party officials” were forced to clarify “Driver” Dunlop’s statements by saying Tim Hudak would make “taxpayers” pick up the cost. This despite the fact Hudak’s platform failed to budget for any additional expenditure.
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The general confusion in the Ontario Tory ranks should cause everyone some measure of concern: if Tim Hudak has such a difficult time understanding that there is no difference between the ‘taxpayer’, the ‘consumer’, and the ‘voter’, then we are all in trouble.
Because saying the ‘consumer’ will not pay an eco fee but the ‘taxpayer’ will be held responsible assumes that the ‘voter’ is stupid, or simply not paying attention. Plain and simple.
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An earlier version of this article referred to the above press release as being issued by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, when it was, in fact, issued by the Liberal Party of Ontario. The article has been corrected, and I apologize for the mistake. Thanks to my readers for pointing this out.