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Some wins, some losses in 2016: MPP Smith looks forward to a new year

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

While there were many successes in 2016, life continues to get harder in Ontario, especially in rural Ontario, said MPP Todd Smith in a year-end address.

The Prince Edward-Hastings MPP says decisions made by Premier Kathleen Wynne and the provincial government continue to drive energy prices higher.

“It was just a few years ago that Ontario had the cheapest electricity in North America. That was one of the key reasons businesses and manufacturers thrived here. It’s remarkable how a number of irresponsible government decisions in the last decade have resulted in Ontario now having the most expensive electricity costs on the continent.”

Looking ahead to 2017, Smith says energy will continue to be a sore spot for the Liberal government for the foreseeable future.

“Not only is the government making electricity more expensive, it will now drive up the price of natural gas and other home heating fuels and gasoline by bringing in a disastrous cap-and-trade system.

“Mark my words. This is the next Liberal mistake. Cap-and-trade has already proven to be a failure in jurisdictions where it’s been implemented. Serving as one of the energy critics with the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park and as Critic for the Hydro One Sale has shown me first-hand just how damaging Liberal energy policies have been on every sector of Ontario.”

Smith said the eight per cent rebate on electricity bills coming on New Year’s Day is welcome, but, isn’t enough.

“Not when people are seeing double digit increases every year. Our schools have even seen increases of 40 per cent in one year. It’s a decision of heating or eating for far too many people in Ontario because of this government.”

MPP Smith thinks 2016 was a productive year on a number of local files and hopes that the string of victories carries over into important files in 2017. He’s notes he’s thankful the government assisted with funding for a handful of infrastructure projects in local municipalities, but more is needed.

“While it was rewarding to see some municipalities like Bancroft, Wollaston, Centre Hastings, Marmora and Lake, Tweed and Limerick receive Ontario Community Infrastructure Funding, many other worthy projects have waited another full year with no results. My office will continue to advocate for much needed infrastructure funding in 2017.”

The MPP cited forcing the government to keep Sagonaska Demonstration School in Belleville open, and a reversal of government cuts to senior’s prescription drug costs and autism programs, as successes in 2016.

“Sagonaska School was a major file this year,” Smith said. “When we found out early in the year that the government was planning to close the provincial schools, which provide an essential learning environment for severely learning disabled students, the effort to keep them open became a priority at my office. When the government announced in the spring that they’d be keeping demonstration schools open next year, it was a huge victory for the parent councils all over the province who led the fight.”

Local parents were essential to overturning the government’s decision to cut autism services.

“When it came to autism services, parents across the province were active on this one. They kept it on the front burner at Queen’s Park to the point where we were hearing from government MPPs that they disagreed with the premier on how autism services were being handled. Without parents getting involved, that doesn’t happen. The government would still be cutting autism services.”

It has been more than five years since Todd Smith was elected Member of Provincial Parliament for Prince Edward-Hastings. The old riding boundaries will be changing ahead of the 2018 provincial election to mirror the federal electoral jurisdictions, but, MPP Smith says he will continue to advocate for all residents in Prince Edward and Hastings throughout 2017.

“There will be many challenges ahead in the coming year and I look forward to working with municipal council colleagues and residents across Prince Edward-Hastings to fight for a better way of life in rural Ontario.”

“On behalf of my family and staff, best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.”

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  1. Emily says:

    That is a very nice political message on Christmas Day. Tories, abandoned safe water, amalgamated hospitals, amalgamated municipal governments, deregulated Ontario Hydro. And now the PC leader caught in a scandal moving out an MPP and hiring him in the party. And a 19 yr old elected that opposes gay rights.

  2. Marilyn Ives says:

    Thanks Todd, your doing the best you can in a nasty situation where the Liberals are spending beyond their limits. They will ruin Ontario before they learn that it is all too late to change their mind or decisions. The poor people will certainly feel their decisions more than most. It is a very shameful year with the Liberals.

    Merry Christmas to you and your Family, we know you are really there for the people in your area and doing all you can to help us.

    Happy New Year and lets hope we have a much better year in 2017 that people can regain their trust in government.

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