...But just in case, the Liberals kept one foot firmly on the brake, with a hard cap on rates charged by government-owned Ontario Power Generation (OPG) for electricity from its "heritage assets," the nuclear plants and major hydro facilities such as Niagara Falls.
That cap comes off on April 1, 2008, however, and now the province's tolerance for higher electricity rates is really going to be put to the test, as OPG served notice late last week that it will be seeking a 14-per-cent hike...
...The government was silent on the matter last week. "The intention is just (to) leave it with the OEB," said a spokesperson for Energy Minister Gerry Phillips...
A footnote: It is no accident that OPG's proposal for a rate hike was released three weeks after the Oct. 10 election. An informed source says OPG was ready to roll last summer but was prevailed upon by its single shareholder, the government, to wait until now.So that's a second source saying the same thing. Sounds like somebody was pulling some strings.
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From Nov. 3 Globe - OPG to seek 14-percent rate hike:
...The spectre of rising electricity prices is a sensitive topic for the government. OPG's announcement comes just three weeks after the provincial election, when Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberals won a second majority. Energy industry sources said government officials instructed OPG not to apply for the higher rates until after the election.
Energy Ministry spokesman Steve Erwin responded, "It's up to OPG, not us, to decide when they do or do not want to file such an application."
"McGuinty gets re-elected, and the cost of living goes up for Ontarians at a time when they can afford it least," said Progressive Conservative MPP John Yakabuski...
Yeah, that's sure going to help the old manufacturing sector.
More Ontario comment: Cross-border medicine (Christina Blizzard)
We don't expect much from this Liberal crew - (John Snobelen):
...The dismissal or demotion of several senior ministers and the promotion of many new MPPs will consolidate more power in the premier's office. Dalton and a few key ministers will run the show and that tells me Dalton isn't planning on leaving any time soon. Why should he? He has won two majorities in a row and both opposition parties are now in disarray having squandered the chance to defeat McGuinty over his broken promises.
No opposition, low expectations and a very compliant cabinet spells a cake walk for this premier into the next election. Maybe McGuinty will go for three majorities in a row. Maybe he will be handed a third election victory by opposition parties that just aren't up to the job of defeating him. Maybe.
There is some good news in all the changes. Michael Bryant can't be happy about the shift to aboriginal affairs but the creation of this ministry is a good idea and maybe the energy Bryant brought to banning pitbulls will help bring some justice to Caledonia...
On that last note, we can only hope.