Ontario’s financial watchdog will double check the math on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s hydro relief plan.
A spokesman for the office of Ontario’s financial accountability office (FAO) confirmed the review of the Liberal plan to slash hydro rates by 17%. The move — announced by the government last week — is projected to create up to $25 billion in debt as the province negotiates to pay energy generation contracts over a longer period of time.
“The hydro rate issue is something that the financial accountability office is working on,” said FAO spokesman Kismet Baun. “We’ll be issuing a report on our analysis sometime in the future.”
Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown has called on David Wake — Ontario’s temporary finanical accountability officer — to conduct the investigation.
“This is a government that has had a history of having their numbers wrong,” Brown said on Monday. “It’s not that long ago that they were telling us the gas plant scandal was going to cost a cup of coffee.”
Brown said even since the launch of the Liberal plan, there have been different interpretations of the numbers they’ve provided.
“We had different explanations and numerous reports, whether it was $14 billion, $25 billion, $42 billion in interest. The government has been unclear. I think taxpayers, Ontario residents, deserve to know what they’re on the hook for.”
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she was happy to hear Wake has agreed to look at the numbers. She, too. has questions about the accuracy of the government estimates, slamming the plan as Wynne “financing her popularity,” she said.
“They can’t trust any of the numbers the Liberal’s bring forward,” she said. “It’s because this plan is not about the people of Ontario. This plan is about Kathleen Wynne and her political backside.”
Wynne said Monday that the FAO had been briefed on the plan and provided with technical documents.
“We have used assumptions about interest over the next number of years, decades and those are fairly conservative projections,” he said. “We’ve been very careful as we’ve laid out the plan.”
Toronto Sun by Shawn Jeffords
March 6th 2017