February 15, 2015
Contact: Todd SmithCO
613 962 1144

News

SMITH REINTRODUCES REAL ESTATE BILL

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 10, 2017

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) – Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith is hoping that the third time’s the charm for Ontario realtors. On Wednesday, Smith introduced his Tax Fairness for Realtors Act for the third time at Queen’s Park in hopes of finally giving Ontario realtors the same ability to incorporate as lawyers, financial advisors and accountants.

 

“Realtors are pillars of their community.” Smith said in a statement to the House on Thursday. “When I’m at a special event in Picton or a hospice gala in Bancroft, realtors are not just in attendance; their brokerages have usually sponsored the events, or they’re using their Rolodex to make sure people are buying tickets.”

 

Other provinces including British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec already allow realtors to incorporate. Recent studies have shown the change will come at no cost to the provincial treasury and will actually result in a small bump for Ontario’s GDP.

 

“Personal incorporations are an important tool that allows small business owners to retain more pre-tax income.”  Smith added in his statement. “Other professionals in Ontario are allowed to incorporate, including chartered accountants, lawyers, health professionals, social workers and mortgage brokers. By giving realtors the same ability, some of the money will go into their business but a lot of it will end up going back into the community.”

 

The Bill will receive second reading on March 23rd and is co-sponsored by Liberal and NDP Members of the House.

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

Wynne Government must release hidden Hydro One executive salaries in Sunshine List 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 10th, 2017

(QUEEN’S PARK) - Today, Ontario PC Caucus Energy Critic Todd Smith demanded that the Wynne Government stop hiding Hydro One salaries from the public, and publish them simultaneously with this year’s Sunshine List of public sector salaries over $100,000. If no action is taken, MPP Smith will introduce a Private Member’s Bill to stop the secrecy and put Hydro One salaries back on the Sunshine List through amendments to the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act.  

Despite Hydro One still being majority-owned by the public, the Wynne Liberals eliminated oversight immediately following the announcement of the Hydro One fire sale. The thousands of highly-paid executives at Hydro One will be glaringly absent from the Sunshine List for the second year in a row.

“Kathleen Wynne has admitted that she’s lost control of multi-million dollar CEO compensation. But what’s most galling is that she keeps these Hydro One salaries secret, while families are getting their electricity shut off in the middle of winter,” said Smith. “It’s clear the Wynne Government is completely out of touch.”

“The government’s unaffordable electricity prices are driving families into energy poverty, yet the Wynne Govenrment’s priority is burying Hydro One salaries into secrecy. This government is anything but open and transparent,” added Smith. “Premier Wynne should prove she has nothing to hide. She should stop the secrecy and reveal the salaries at Hydro One.” 

Background:

  • More than 4,300 employees of Hydro One and its subsidiaries were included on the 2015 Sunshine List of those making more than $100,000 annually
  • 77 per cent of Hydro One full-time employees were included on the 2015 Sunshine List
  • In 2014 the Hydro One CEO was the top-ten best paid public sector employees, making $745,208
  • Compared to the new Hydro One CEO who earns $4 million a year with bonuses, the CEO for Hydro Quebec makes $483,000 and the BC Hydro CEO makes $489,000

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SMITH STARTS SCHOOL CLOSURE PETITION CAMPAIGN

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 31st, 2017

 

(BELLEVILLE) – The fight to keep schools open in small local communities is taking another step. Over the month of January, Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith has said that his office has gotten considerable contact from parents and community members who are concerned about what closing schools could mean for their community.

 

“There’s been a lot of concern from parents and students about the school closures being proposed for Sophiasburgh and Madoc Township.” Smith stated. “These communities have had schools going back generations. For these towns, the school really is the heart of the community. A lot of people are telling my office that they think closing the school is the end of their community.”

 

As a part of the effort to get attention for local campaigns like those currently underway in Sophiasburgh, Smith has launched a petition on his website and his office will be making it available to constituents.

 

“Petitions are a good way for people to register an official protest with the government .But they’re also a way for my office to stay in touch in situations like this where there’s going to be more information coming.” Smith continued.  “It’s a way for us to make sure that the people standing up for their community have the best information possible.”

 

The current Accommodation Review process has generated considerable controversy locally and across rural Ontario as a number of schools in small, rural communities have found themselves on the chopping block.

 

“People ask me why someone would move to a community without a school.” Smith concluded. “They really do see this as another attempt to hollow out their corner of the world. So, we’re going to help them protect it.”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

 

Petition Link: http://www.toddsmithmpp.ca/oppose_rural_school_closures_petition

 

 

 

GOVERNMENT ADOPTS PC CAUCUS PROPOSAL ON ENERGY

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 27th, 2016

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) – When Premier Kathleen Wynne prorogued the legislature earlier this month, the Progressive Conservative caucus stated that they had two priorities for the coming session. The first was getting the government to stop the sale of Hydro One shares and the second was to stop signing expensive renewable energy contracts. Today the government finally agreed to the second priority and announced it would stop signing future contracts to procure wind and solar power.

 

“It seems like the government keeps agreeing with us five years too late.” Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith stated. “My first bill in the legislature would have returned local control over these projects, which would have kept a lot of them from being built. We knew back then they were driving up your hydro rates. The government just figured it out this morning apparently.”

 

The announcement this morning outlined the government’s plan to no longer go ahead with the Long Range Plan second phase under which the government had yet to sign a single contract because it hadn’t finalized the procurement process yet. So, it involved cancelling no existing or in-process wind or solar contracts.

 

“The government is saying this will save people money. That’s like saying that you saved money because you didn’t buy a sports car.” Smith continued. “We still have FIT and LRP phase one projects under construction. Plenty of these projects are still being added to the grid, which means that they’ll still be added to your bill. All this did was cancel projects that weren’t scheduled to come online until 2020.”

 

Smith stressed that this would offer no relief from current hydro prices or even short term increases that were already in the works.

 

“If they’d done it 5 years ago, when we first asked them to, before 60,000 people had been cut off and 566,000 had been put in arrears; then it may have made a difference.” Smith concluded. “But once again, this government has done too little, too late.”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

MORE THAN $13.5 MILLION IN INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING FOR PRINCE EDWARD-HASTINGS

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 22, 2016

 

(BELLEVILLE) – Good news will be coming to Prince Edward-Hastings in the coming months as the provincial government today released information about what local municipalities will be getting funding through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund. The 16 municipalities plus Hastings County of Prince Edward-Hastings will be receiving in excess of 13.5 million dollars between the 2016 and 2019 fiscal years.

 

“In the five years I’ve been an MPP, the biggest issue from municipalities in my riding has been the lack of predictable infrastructure funding from the upper levels of government.” Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith stated. “With the release of this information, we now know that 16 municipalities in our area, including the County of Hastings, will be receiving over 13.5 million dollars until 2019 to help meet infrastructure needs.

 

The funding formula used to determine how much each municipality receives depends on a variety of factors including core infrastructure, median income and property assessment. That accounts for the disparity in amounts between municipalities that may have similar population sizes. However, Smith says, many large projects will remain on the front burner at Queen’s Park.

 

“Obviously we have a number of infrastructure needs in the area including Highway 49 which was just named the worst road in Ontario by CAA.” Smith stated. “But Highway 62 North of Maynooth and the Stirling-Marmora Road remain major local concerns and I’ve already submitted questions to the Minister this fall about those projects specifically.”

 

Smith said he’ll continue lobbying the government about projects that local municipalities raise as needing special attention.

 

“There are a bunch of projects that I want to see done that will make the Quinte region a better place to live and work.” Smith concluded. “And I’m going to try and get money for every last one of them.”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

 

 

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SAME OLD SONG AND DANCE FROM WYNNE GOVERNMENT

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 12th, 2016

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) – Today’s Throne Speech from the Kathleen Wynne government at Queen’s Park was mostly re-announcements from last spring’s budget. Proof that the Wynne government intends to carry on pretty much the way it had before.  The Premier’s sudden conversion to the cause of fighting Ontario’s historically high electricity rates was marked by the announcement of a measure that she and twenty members of her cabinet voted against less than five years ago.

 

“Kathleen Wynne voted against an HST rebate for your electricity bills in 2011.” Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith stated. “So, when it was only hurting you, the Premier was against it. Now that it’s politically hurting her, she’s all for it.”

 

The rebate, which was the subject of a vote in the Legislature on November 24th, 2011, was almost voted down by the government when Wynne and twenty of her cabinet Ministers voted against it.

 

“In the five years I’ve been at Queen’s Park, I’ve raised Hydro rates and electricity prices over 160 times in speeches, petitions and debates in the Legislature.” Smith continued.  “But it’s taken five years for Kathleen Wynne to finally clue in that thousands of Ontarians have had to choose between heating and eating because of her energy policies.”

 

The motion passed with NDP and PC Members, including Smith, voting in favour but the Liberal government refused to call the bill for the final debate needed for it to pass and become law.

 

“This is what happens when a government loses touch.” Smith concluded. “Their priorities aren’t your priorities until their priority becomes getting re-elected. Now Kathleen Wynne is for something that she used to be against, not because it’s right but because she’s afraid her job might be the next one lost to high energy prices in Ontario.”

 

For Information Contact:  Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

“COUNTY ROAD 49 IS A PRIORITY FOR ONTARIO”: SMITH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 26, 2016

 

(BELLEVILLE) – This morning’s announcement that County Road 49 in Prince Edward County is CAA’s Worst Road in Ontario comes as no surprise to local officials, including Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith. The road which skyrocketed to the top of the voting at CAA weeks ago when the poll opened, led the competition almost from start to finish.

 

“After we got funding for County Road 3, people in Prince Edward County made it clear to me that their next priority was County Road 49.” Smith stated. “So, every session at Queen’s Park I’ve made sure to question the Minister about it so that we can get it fixed.”

 

The road, which stretches approximately 20 kilometres from the Quinte Skyway Bridge to the town of Picton, is a major tourism and industrial route that serves as the entry to the County for tourists from Ottawa and Eastern Canada. Its severe state of disrepair and the need to replace it has been repeatedly raised by County leaders like Mayor Robert Quaiff.

 

“Mayor Quaiff and I talk about County Road 49 it seems like once a week.” Smith added. “He makes sure that he stays in my ear about it and that keeps it on the front burner when we talk about infrastructure at Queen’s Park. I’m hoping that with the help of the CAA, we can get some extra attention and finally some funding for forty-nine.”

 

Over the years, being named Ontario’s worst road has brought a spotlight to infrastructure needs in neighbourhoods and communities and has increased pressure on different levels of government to solve the problem, something Smith hopes will occur for County Road 49.

 

“It’s a major tourism route now. It has the potential to be an economic gateway for future growth in the County. Improving County Road 49 isn’t just a priority for Prince Edward County. County Road 49 is a priority for Ontario.” Smith concluded.

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 613 962 1144 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

 

“LIFE IS MORE EXPENSIVE BECAUSE OF THIS BUDGET”: SMITH

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 25, 2016

 

(BELLEVILLE) – The deficit may be down, but the cost of doing it was an increase to the price of almost everything according to Prince Edward-Hastings MPP, Todd Smith.  The budget announced new government programs including a Cap-and-Trade program that will mean a household increase of over $400 per year on the cost of gasoline and over $400 per year on the cast of natural gas to heat your home. An increase, Smith says, that isn’t going to help the environment but to pay down the deficit.

 

“Cap and Trade is supposed to help us fight climate change, not the deficit.” Smith stated. “Not a dime of what you’re going to end up paying in increased gas and heating costs is going to go to help the environment, it’s all going to improving the province’s bottom line. It’s already making money for lawyers and lobbyists though because Ontario’s biggest polluters are exempt while Ontario families are more than paying their fair share.”

 

Smith took issue with a number of other things in the budget that are driving up the cost of living for the average Ontario family. But the one he said would hit the area hardest was the 70 percent increase in the cost of prescription drugs for millions of Ontario seniors by increasing the deductible for prescriptions under the Ontario Drug Benefit.

 

“My office in Belleville already fields a lot of calls from seniors who can’t afford their prescriptions, this represents a 70 percent increase in the cost of their prescriptions. “ Smith added. “As Ontario’s population ages and we see more retirees, we’re going to see more and more seniors unable to afford their prescriptions because of this budget.

 

The nickel and dime approach to taxation, Smith stated, is only going to make it harder for many Ontarians to make ends meet

 

“Whether it’s wine or cider, gasoline in your tank or natural gas to heat your house, your electricity rates by selling Hydro One or your prescription by increasing the cost of the drug plan, life is now more expensive because of this budget.” Smith concluded. “I’m not sure how Ontarians will afford it.”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

SMOKE-FREE SCHOOLS ACT PASSES SECOND READING

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 26th, 2015

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) -  Todd Smith’s Smoke-Free Schools Act has passed Second Reading at the Ontario Legislature this afternoon. The Bill received unanimous support from all parties in the legislature this afternoon and will head to the General Government Committee for the next stage in the process before becoming law.

 

“For four years, we’ve been talking about this at the Legislature, I’m glad all three parties decided that now was the time to do something about it.” Smith stated. “We’re talking about a criminal element in a lot of cases. We’re talking about biker gangs running distribution networks and as I said in my remarks to the House this afternoon:  as long as Ontario has an illegal tobacco problem, the entire continent will have an illegal tobacco problem.”

 

In his remarks to the House this afternoon, Smith stressed the healthcare costs that the Bill is forcing the province to contend with as well as the long term effect that illegal tobacco has on youth and adult smoking rates.

 

“It’s not just a health problem because it’s a healthcare problem; it’s surgery hours, hospital beds, chemotherapy treatments, pharmacare costs. The tragic part is that it’s preventable.”  Smith said in the House this afternoon. “If we don’t stop it, if we don’t treat it like it’s a law enforcement problem, if we don’t start putting the guys who push the poison out of business, they will put us out of business.”

 

As it became clear that the other parties would be supporting the Bill, Smith said it was very moving to hear the individual stories from other Members.

 

“When you get up and hear Wayne Gates or Peter Milczyn tell their personal stories about how smoking is ending lives way too early, it’s hard not to realize how much we need legislation like this.” Smith concluded. “We needed a strategy, we need action and it’s my hope that at committee, we’ll strengthen this bill and get it into law.”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

MORE JOBS GO UNDER THE KNIFE AT QHC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 19th, 2015

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) – The provincial budget squeeze claimed more victims today as the knife fell on 162 jobs at Quinte Healthcare. The changes have to be approved by the board, but would come into effect on April 1 of next year if not significantly altered. For Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith, it’s another round of Quinte’s least favourite news story.

 

“Last year it was an 8.5 million dollar shortfall, this year it’s an 11.5 million dollar shortfall.” Smith stated. “And every time the provincial government comes up with less money for Quinte Healthcare, we end up seeing staff reductions at local hospitals. Eventually, they’re going to be trying to get blood from a stone.”

 

The reductions announced today effect three hospitals in the region but will hit heaviest in Belleville and Trenton where the expected net job losses will be 49 and 29. Prince Edward County, the smallest of the three hospitals affected today, will see a net loss of six positions.

 

“We’ve seen a troubling cycle emerge the last couple of years,” Smith added. “In the case of Picton and Trenton, we’ve seen services moved first and then we’ve seen staffing cuts come after. The Ministry of Health keeps saying that they’re trying to move care into the community but on the ground it looks like they’re trying to move healthcare out of the community.”

 

A report by the Auditor General this year looked at the Community Care system in Ontario showed that 40 percent of the money that was supposed to be going into homecare in Ontario was actually going into backrooms and administration. A figure, Smith says, is unjustifiably high.

 

“There is simply too much bureaucracy at the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and Ministry of Health. So what we are witnessing are job cuts at our hospitals and cuts to hours in community care too.” Smith concluded. “When 40 percent of the money is being hung up in administration, how much of it could have gone to a person who sees a patient in Belleville, Trenton or Picton. That’s where real healthcare happens.”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

CALLING FOR 'NO MORE CUTS'

Belleville Intelligencer

Friday November 13th, 2015

Ernst Kuglin

TRENTON - The cold front that blew into the region Friday is nothing like the cold shoulder that hundreds of people gave the provincial government.
More than 600 health care workers and residents were at Friday’s rally in Trenton’s Centennial Park protesting cuts to health care.
Bus loads of unionized health care workers from across central and eastern Ontario descended on the park to attend the first in a series of four Ontario Health Coalition rallies being held across the province.
Local hospital advocacy group Our TMH  helped organize the rally.
Beleaguered Trenton Memorial and other small, rural hospitals were the focus of attention during the rally cut short by blustery winds and falling temperatures.
“Small and rural hospitals like TMH can not survive another two more years of cuts. Hospitals in small towns are teetering on the brink of disaster,” said Coalition executive director Natalie Mehra.
That drew an angry response from the crowd of “no more cuts.”
Despite the weather conditions, the crowd was upbeat as one speaker after the other slammed the provincial Liberal government.
Louis Rodrigues, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, said funding cuts are shredding services.
“All of us are here today demand the restoration of services, and services that have been shuttered in small communities. We’re also here to demand that full service be restored at Trenton Memorial,” said Rodrigues.
Again the crowd broke into the “not more cuts” chant.
“We are all united in pushing back against a provincial Liberal government that is attacking our hospitals in our communities. We are here today to demand an end to the funding freeze that is choking the life out of our hospitals,” said Rodrigues.
Vicki McKenna, provincial vice president of the Ontario Nurses Association, kept the crowd riled up.
“Health care in this province is under attack. We will have to fight for it in order for it to stay. It seems to be the easy thing to do – to slowly cut bits and pieces out of the health care system so that our hospitals are left as skeletons. It’s not acceptable to me as a registered nurse and it’s not acceptable to communities. Our communities need to be strong and continue to stand up and do anything they can because if they don’t health care will not be there for you,” said McKenna.
Quinte Health Care didn’t escape the anger either.
Our TMH vice chair Mike Cowan said QHC employees were barred from attending the rally after administrators issued an edict that no employees were to be given the day off to attend the rally.
That was confirmed by several QHC employees who were at the rally, but did not want to be identified.
Cowan said it’s time to take TMH back.
“We won’t take 10 years to fix the hospital. That’s about the time it’s taken QHC to break it,” said Cowan, receiving a huge round of applause.
Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi was singled out for not being at the rally.
“He likely didn’t have the guts,” said a protester standing in the crowd.
But neighbouring Conservative MPP Todd Smith had plenty to say.
Smith said the No. 1 priority he hears from people across the region is they want good access to health care and they want it close to home.
“They don’t want to have to travel to Kingston or Ottawa for services,” said Smith.
Smith slammed Liberals for misspending public money on gas plant scandals, payouts to teacher unions and the sell off of Hydro One.
“It’s not good news for health care that priorities are not being placed in the right place,” said Smith.
Smith praised the efforts of Our TMH, but skirted a question on whether or not he supports the removal of Trenton Memorial from QHC.
“I support Our TMH for wanting to keep services in Trenton. I realize how important that is to Quinte West and the region. Cutting  in Trenton will only increase the caseload at Belleville General,” said Smith.
But Smith did add Our TMH is doing the right thing by exploring different opportunities, including opening a veteran’s care wing.
Smith said the only way for TMH to survive is for Our TMH to look at other models – of smaller, stand alone rural hospitals that dot the province.
“The health minister has asked them to think outside the box. There needs to be incentive from the ministry to allow the LHIN to make some of that happen. Bureaucracy is the biggest problem in our health system right now. It’s taking away from front line health care,” said Smith.
Mehra later said some of the services left at TMH will, in all likelihood, be cut or shifted outside the hospital, including complex continuing care beds and eye surgery.
“The community is being set up. The community should be warned that its hospital is very much at risk. Lou Rinaldi has to bring that message by to the Liberal caucus,” said Mehra.
ernst.kuglin@sunmedia.ca

 

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HYDRO ONE SALE OPPONENTS RALLY

Brockville Recorder

 

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Todd Smith, Ontario PC critic for Hydro One and Member of Provincial Parliament for the Prince Edward-Hastings riding, speaks to a crowd at MPP Steve Clark's public meeting on the Hydro One sale on Thursday in Brockville.

Friday November 13th, 2015

Sabrina Bedford

A local citizens’ group is urging those who oppose the sale of Hydro One to call or write the premier’s office directly ‘before it’s too late.’
 
“Once it’s done, it’s done,” said Todd Smith, Ontario critic for the Hydro One sale and Member of Provincial Parliament for the Prince Edward-Hastings riding, who spoke at a public meeting on the sale Thursday in Brockville.
 
Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark hosted the event with Rhonda Ferguson from the citizens’ group ‘Hydro One Not For Sale’, along with Smith and concerned citizen Dave Lundy to discuss implications of the sale.
 
Ontario sold a 15 per cent stake in the province’s largest electricity provider by making it public on November 5, however Premier Kathleen Wynne has said she hopes to sell up to 60 per cent of the company.
 
“While 15 per cent of the company is gone, I’m not done fighting,” said Clark.
 
“We need to leave it in public hands and we really need to fix what’s wrong with it. We need to deal with the overpriced bureaucracy that’s been Hydro, and we also need to bring an end to policies and bring rates under control so families aren’t forced to choose between heating and eating.”
 
About 60 people filled the community room in the 1000 Islands Mall Thursday, and Clark said one of the main consequences of privatizing Hydro One, besides the effects it would have on private citizens, would be that it deters businesses from staying in or choosing Ontario to set up shop.
 
“We need to get our rates under control to be the leaders we once were. We were the leaders in job creation because we had low power,” Clark said.
 
Smith added this will not only affect businesses, but private residents as well.
 
“We know the price of electricity is going to continue to rise, particularly in places like Brockville and Athens and areas north. Those rural customers are really going to feel the pinch on this,” he said.
 
He explained by pointing to an example from his riding. A power company in Belleville tends to “fill in the gaps” where Hydro doesn’t serve, Smith said. He said this will hit particularly hard in his riding and Leeds-Grenville because private companies aren’t going to want to go into the rural areas where most of the customers are medium- or low-density users.
 
The plan to sell the Crown corporation was put into place largely because of the financial benefits cited by the provincial government, however Clark and opponents of the sale say it won’t be as lucrative as they think. 
 
Clark noted that eight independent watchdogs at Queen’s Park – all independent and non-partisan – have spoken out against the sale because it “strips their powers of oversight and their oversight of executive expenditures and also, rates.”
 
Ferguson, who is a nurse by trade and councillor for the township of Athens, called on the audience to make their voices heard.
 
“The provincial government has no mandate to sell (Hydro One),” she said.
 
“We can’t afford the bills we have now, how can we possibly afford it if our rates go up? Keep calling, don’t let them ignore you,” she said.

 

FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICER RIPS HYDRO ONE SALE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 29th, 2015

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) – The sale of Hydro One will have a negative impact on the fiscal situation of the province says Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer in a report released today. In his 41 page report, the FAO outlined several problems with the sale including issues around how much money would be raised, the sale long term impact on the fiscal health of the province and the lack of transparency around compiling the report itself.

 

“This morning, the Financial Accountability Officer told us that the Hydro One Sale could net as little as $1.4 Billion in new money for infrastructure for the province, that’s less than half of what the government is claiming.” Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith stated. “The closer you get to this deal, the more you find that ratepayers and taxpayers in the province only stand to lose if it goes through.”

 

Among the other things that the Financial Accountability Officer outlined was the fact that the loss of revenue generated by Hydro One every year could start worsening the province’s fiscal situation as early as 2016-17 and create a hole of $300-$500 million in the books every year.

 

“This is a deal that’s going to make it harder for the province to actually balance its books. It’s that simple.” Smith continued. “This government clearly didn’t think things through when it decided to sell Hydro One and now it’s becoming clear that they won’t get the money they expect out of it and they’re content to stick taxpayers with the bill.”

 

On the lack of transparency Smith was similarly blunt, “There are 6 key questions in the Officer’s report that he couldn’t answer because the government refused to hand over information. Clearly, they’ve got something to hide here.”

 

Smith will be holding a town hall about the sale on November 9th at 6pm at Club 580 in Bancroft.

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

Statement from the PC Hydro One Critic, MPP Todd Smith on the Fire Sale of Hydro One

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 18th, 2015

"The Liberal Government's alarming compensation packages to Hydro One executives totaling 24 million dollars, in conjunction with the fire sale of this crown asset, is a slap in the face to average Ontario families who can't afford to pay their hydro bills or make ends meet. 

 

The OEB sets electricity rates based on the costs of running Hydro One, which will now surely increase because of these exorbitant salaries, severances, and gold-plated pensions. 

 

It's no wonder that Ed Clark and Premier Wynne cannot - and will not - confirm that electricity prices will not increase as a result of the fire sale, because they knew what the executive compensation packageswere going to cost.

 

And since the Wynne Liberals have removed independent oversight, Ontarians won’t ever know if we received fair value for this asset.

 

Premier Wynne is not in it for Ontario and is out of touch with families. She doesn't understand their daily struggles to make ends meet, including keeping the lights on. Her priorities are not those of Ontario.  Premier Wynne should listen to the thousands of Ontarians who believe that this sale will increase their hydro bills. 

 

The Wynne Liberals were never given a mandate by the people of Ontario to give up control of an asset owned by the people."

 

SMITH TASKED WITH HYDRO ONE SALE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 10th, 2015

 

(BELLEVILLE) – Earlier this year, hundreds of Prince Edward-Hastings residents wrote their MPP to protest the Liberal government plan to sell Hydro One. Now, Todd Smith has been put in charge of the PC Caucus response to the fire sale of the province’s electricity utility. He’ll now be serving as Associate Critic for Energy with a focus on the Hydro One Sale.

 

“Last spring, citizens across my riding were very engaged on the Hydro One Sale because, I think, they recognized that this was the government selling the last tool it had to keep electricity rates down – particularly for rural residents.” Smith stated. “Close to a thousand residents contacted my office about it last spring, and they want the government to stop the sale of Hydro One.”

 

Smith has been addressing electricity issues since being elected as the MPP for Prince Edward-Hastings. Local projects like the Bancroft biomass facility, Marmora Pumped Storage project, the ongoing saga around wind turbines in Prince Edward County and the use of agricultural land for solar installations are a few of the local issues Smith has been concerned about in the energy sector.

 

“We’ve seen a complete mangling of the electricity sector by the Liberals, we’re paying more for electricity at the same time we’re using less of it.” Smith added. “Now, we’re selling off the last remnants of the public utility because Kathleen Wynne can’t balance her budget. She’s ensuring that energy poverty will be the reality for tens of thousands of Ontarians for years to come.”

 

Smith added that the details of the sale and the removal of all oversight by independent officers of the legislature have raised some serious concern at Queen’s Park.

 

“If you smell something, say something.” Smith concluded. “It’s impossible to look at the backroom deals around the Hydro One sale and not smell something. It’s not just that the Liberals are burning the furniture to heat the house, it’s that they’ve removed all oversight. There’s no one there to make sure they don’t burn the whole house down. Now, that’s my job.”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

LIBERALS CUT HEALTHCARE…AGAIN

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 11, 2015

 

(BELLEVILLE) – Earlier this week, the province’s Liberal government announced that it would be eliminating 50 medical residencies in Ontario. This comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of Ontarians are without a family doctor.

 

“Once again, the Liberals are sacrificing the healthcare system rather than cutting some of their pet projects that are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars.” Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith stated.  “Time and time again, we’ve got a government that says one thing and does another.”

 

Earlier this year, several local municipalities including Bancroft, Belleville, Quinte West, Marmora and Lake and Hastings Highlands were listed as municipalities with a ‘high physician need’ by the Ministry of Health.

 

“In May, the Ministry tells us that we have hundreds, even thousands, of local families that need a family doctor because they live in a municipality that has a high physician need. Now, it’s making it harder to train physicians in this province.” Smith added.  “The government would rather patients pay for years of deficit spending than, say, Liberal friends in the wind power industry.”

 

“We’ve seen issues with funding at Quinte Healthcare, now we’re seeing the province scaling back on training doctors. All this will do is send more people to Emergency Rooms and Walk-In Clinics – ultimately driving up healthcare costs.” Smith concluded. “Your healthcare system is no longer a priority of this Liberal government.”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

 

E-SIGNATURES FINALLY LAW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 29, 2015

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) – More than three years after first being introduced, Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith’s bill to make electronic signatures on real estate transactions law in Ontario is finally coming into effect. First introduced in May 2012, the bill was wiped from the Order Paper when Premier McGuinty prorogued the House and resigned that October. The bill was reintroduced in March of 2013 when it passed second reading and was adopted into the 2013 budget.

 

“I’ve said all along that this bill couldn’t have happened without the Quinte and District Association of Realtors bringing it to my attention.” Smith stated. “It’s a pity that it’s taken three years to finally make it law.”

 

After passing third reading as a part of the 2013 budget, the section of the Bill dealing with electronic signatures was subject to regulatory review by the Attorney General’s office. The two year review finally concluded and electronic signatures will law in the province effective July 1.

 

“It’s always been important for me to deliver results for my constituents.”  Smith added. “We started with electronic signatures, it’s my hope that we’ll be able to convince the government to do the right thing with the ‘Raise a Glass to Ontario’ Act next.”

 

Smith added that he hopes that he’ll have the chance to get more good legislation passed in the future. “As always, my office is working on bills that will respond to the needs of my constituents and their communities. It’s always important to remember that the people who sent us here expect us to get things done for them. That’s what I go into the office every day to accomplish.”

 

_PCC1031_(2).jpg

Sharon Shortt and myself at Queen's Park in 2012

 

ValMiles.jpg

With Valerie Miles of Bancroft District Real Estate Board

GREAT LAKES “DESERVE BETTER”: SMITH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 5, 2015

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) – Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith says while protecting the Great Lakes is a priority, the government’s proposed Great Lakes Act is a bad bill

 

“I actually want to work with the government to pass the best bill possible to protect the Great Lakes.” Said Smith. “That’s why we raised six key concerns in we want addressed, as a caucus, in order to ensure this bill gets the balance right and reflects the concerns of municipalities, property owners and other Ontarians who want our lakes protected.”

 

Instead of working with the PC Caucus, Smith said the Liberals are more interested in playing politics with the issue by ramming bad legislation through the House to paint the Opposition as being against the environment.

 

“My riding has more miles of Lake Ontario shoreline than any Liberal riding. Proposing amendments designed to improve legislation doesn’t mean I’m against protecting the Great Lakes – it means I’m against a poorly written Bill.” Smith argued. “The Liberals did this last time they tried to pass this Bill before the Election. They’re more interested in getting out a news release than making sure we have the right Bill. The Great Lakes deserve better than that.”

 

Some of the six suggestions the PC Caucus made to improve the Bill are:

 

§  Stripping Local Autonomy: the legislation provides the ability to override existing official plans and zoning bylaws developed to meet the specific needs of municipalities and their residents.

§  Increasing Red Tape: the bill would create a “Guardian Council” to provide advice to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, but offers no guarantee it will include representatives from a broad range of groups. This model also limits full public participation.

§  No Funding Specified: Bill 66 provides no details about how any programs created will be paid for, which is essentially handing a blank cheque to a government that’s proven it can’t manage its spending.

§  No Respect for Property Owners: the bill contains sections that would allow authorities to access private property without a warrant.

§  Rural Perspective Missing: the Rural Ontario Municipal Association developed the “Rural Lens,” 12 points municipal leaders want applied to any legislation. That hasn’t happened with Bill 66 and the result is the creation of a new level of bureaucracy to trump the local decision-making process.

 

“In the fall, the Bill comes before committee.” Smith concluded. “It’s my hope that the government will actually show some interest in working with us rather than playing cheap and cynical games with the environment.”

 

Liberals cooked at Smith breakfast

By Jason Miller, The Intelligencer

BELLEVILLE - 

MPP Todd Smith continued his bashing of the Liberal’s provincial budget at Wednesday’s chamber of commerce breakfast.

He said the province is heading into a budget “black hole” created by a multitude of Liberal missteps including the Grits slashing of frontline health care workers, including dozens of nurses at Quinte Health Care, coupled with increasing hydro rates.

“Deficits are destroying the services we require,” he said.

Barring recent medical school graduates from joining Family Health Teams will hurt rural health care, Smith surmised.

“We’re a high physician-need municipality,” he said of Belleville and surrounding areas like Quinte West, which is moving to hire a physician recruiter. Belleville has pumped hundreds of thousands into its physician recruitment program.

“Things are getting worse everyday. We have seen what it means to hospitals in our area.”

The provincial deficit, which hovers around $12 billion, is a cause for concern, Smith noted in his Belleville & District Chamber of Commerce address.

Selling off a chunk of the provincial stake in Hydro One to fund infrastructure projects is another sign of bad financial management, he said.

Smith isn’t in favour of the Liberals’ Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP), tagged to grow retirement incomes for three million Ontarians, but places the burden on employers who have to withdraw 1.9 per cent per pay cheque and people who already have coverage, Smith said.

“They will be bringing this in January of 2017,” he told a room of about 60 people gathered at the Travelodge.

The Liberals’ planned carbon tax is also being rejected by the Conservative fold, who Smith said deem it to be nothing more than a cash grab.

“We don’t need it,” he said. “It’s proven to be unsuccessful in reducing greenhouse gases.”

Smith then shifted his attention to the home care system, which he said is now layered with bureaucracy, creating backlogs.

“They increased bureaucracy by adding a new layer they called Health Links,” Smith said.

jason.miller@sunmedia.ca

 

ONTARIO ON ‘ROAD TO RUIN’ WITH HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 29th, 2015

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) – Today’s report by Ontario’s Auditor General confirmed what Prince Edward - Hastings MPP Todd Smith has been hearing from his constituents the last few winters –highways are getting more dangerous every winter. The biggest cause of this, the report revealed was the government’s move to outsource winter maintenance contracts and remove Ministry oversight.

“Six years ago, the Ministry put contracts up for bids and we went from ensuring bare roads every 2 hours to every four or even eight hours.” Smith stated. “The government was handing out contracts to companies that didn’t have the necessary equipment.”

The Auditor’s report on the government’s new system was unequivocal in stating its impact on road safety. “This procurement process, contractors’ performance, and other factors have led to a decrease in winter highway maintenance service levels across the province, resulting in less safe driving conditions.” (p. 10 – Winter Highway Maintenance Special Report)

“Multi-vehicle pileups have become a common occurrence, especially on the 401 through the Quinte Region, and this is probably the worst place this government could have picked to save a quick buck.” Smith added. “Sacrificing people’s safety shouldn’t, for even a moment, be a consideration.”

The auditor says contractors started using less salt, sand and anti-icing liquids on roads after the change to performance-based contracts and patrolled highways less often, "resulting in service failures.

Smith noted the lack of Ministry oversight and poor service was particularly damaging in Eastern Ontario. “Our area has led the province in the value of fines assessed to contractors who fail to meet service standards. It also leads in the value of fines waived by the government against contractors who are failing to provide the service they’re paid for. There’s no incentive for them to improve service if the province keeps giving them a get out of jail free card.”

“The government is turning our highways into a road to ruin.” Smith concluded. “And they’re making it more dangerous to drive in the winter.”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

Link to Auditor’s report: http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/winterhighway_en.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

THIS IS A ‘HALL OF MIRRORS’ BUDGET

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 23, 2015

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) – The provincial budget is a fiscal ‘hall of mirrors’ according to Prince Edward-Hastings MPP, Todd Smith.  The deficit is up, the government is selling hydro one and clawing back a lot of tax credits that small businesses are counting on.

“The deficit is up to 10.9 billion dollars this year.” Smith stated. “The biggest budget increase this year is actually in the cost of servicing the debt because the interest there is 5.7 percent. The government is actually taking money from healthcare to service the debt.”

The budget includes the sale of 60 percent of the government electricity distribution arm – Hydro One – for a reported cost of 9 billion dollars, slaps a new tax on beer sales and creates a brand new bureaucracy to manage the healthcare system.

“According to this budget, we’re going to have 14 LHINs, 14 CCACs and now 69 new ‘Community Health Links’ in Ontario meaning that we’ll be spending hundreds of millions more every year on people who never see patients.” Smith accused. “This at a time when the government has actually fired over 400 nurses across the province including 58 at Quinte Healthcare.”

“This budget pretends money is going to places it isn’t going, in order to pay for things that the province can’t afford. It’s actually hurting services that working Ontarians and small businesses want like healthcare or tax credits that make it easier to hire an apprentice.” Smith charged.

Asked if there was anything in the budget that could have a local impact, Smith was blunt. “They brought back Connecting Link funding after we begged them for two years.  It’s only a 15 million dollar per year fund to address every Connecting Link in the province, so if you want to repair the CN Rail Bridge in Belleville or Highway 28 in Bancroft, the province isn’t going to be giving you a lot of help.”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 413 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

 

 

 

 

SMITH APPLAUDS COURT DECISION

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 20, 2015

 

(BELLEVILLE) – Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith is cheering today’s decision by the Ontario Court of Appeals.  The decision comes at the end of a process that began years ago and is now drawing to, what the MPP hopes, is a positive conclusion.

“When I was first elected, helping the people of Prince Edward County oppose the Gilead project planned for the South Shore was the first priority I put up on the board in my office.” Smith stated. “Four years later and it’s still up there. Let’s hope a positive end is in sight for the people of Prince Edward County.”

The Decision, handed down today by the Ontario Court of Appeals upheld what the Field Naturalists and others have long argued, that the project proposed for Prince Edward County’s South Shore would cause serious and irreversible harm to the environment. It also kicked the responsibility for finding remediation of that harm back to the Environmental Review Tribunal which ruled against the project initially more than a year ago.

“I’m confident the Field Naturalists will be able to show that nothing Gilead does to try and mitigate harm will actually reduce the environmental impact of this project.” Smith argued. “The fact is, the Court stated the Tribunal was right to rely on expert evidence that showed how destructive this project would be to the environment.”

While the Field Naturalists next battle is before the Environmental Review Tribunal, Smith is going to try and take the fight back to Queen’s Park.

“My goal is to get the Ministry to stop supporting Gilead’s case.” Smith concluded. “When you’ve got an Appeals Court decision stating that a project will cause environmental harm, it strikes me as hypocritical to have the Ministry of Environment supporting that project.”

Gilead Power is proposing a nine turbine wind power project for a portion of Crown Land on Ostrander Point.

 

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HYDRO ONE SALE MEANS HIGHER HYDRO BILLS

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 16th, 2015

 

(QUEEN’S PARK) – The expected sale of Hydro One by the provincial government creates too many problems for ratepayers according to Prince Edward-Hastings MPP, Todd Smith. The sale, announced this morning as a part of the Ed Clark report on Government Assets, would see the province privatize 60 percent of its share in the provincial hydro utility. 

“This is going to drive hydro bills even higher.” Smith charged. “Since 2003, they’ve doubled the stranded debt to 27 billion dollars and now they’re going to make ratepayers pay it off on their hydro bills because they’re eliminating the revenue stream. This is absolutely setting fire to your furniture in order to heat your house.” 

According to the Electricity Act proceeds from the potential sale of electricity utilities are supposed to go to pay off the stranded debt through the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation. However, the government has stated publicly, that it intends to use the proceeds of the sale to finance the building of infrastructure in the Greater Toronto Area. 

“They’re breaking the law.” Smith stated. “Rather than use the money from the sale to get rid of stranded debt and lower hydro bills, as the Electricity Act currently requires them to, they’re going to go on a spending spree.” 

Smith stated that the sale of Hydro One will have a very specific local impact because it services predominantly rural consumers.

“Hydro One serves almost exclusively rural constituents in my riding. What the government is doing is ensuring that their electricity bills go up so that subways can be built in Toronto.” Smith concluded. “That’s how this is going to hit us locally.”

 

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAP AND TRADE ‘MAKES LIFE MORE EXPENSIVE’

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday April 13th, 2015

 

(QUEEN’S PARK)  - Today, the Liberal government signed a ‘cap and trade’ accord with the province of Quebec. The move, which places a tax on carbon, will likely mean higher gas prices and electricity rates in the near future.   

“I was in a meeting with the Society of Energy Professionals when the news broke, “ Smith stated. “The first thing that we talked about afterward was that this would raise the cost of the energy we produce from natural gas. That means higher heating and electricity bills for people who are struggling to pay their bills.”

The government’s announcement this morning was notably light on details as to who would be paying, how much they would be paying, how the system would be introduced or if it would even succeed in lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’ve seen these cap and trade systems implemented in Europe and other places around the world. They result in no real reduction of carbon emissions and it becomes a bonanza for lobbyists who end up trying to get exceptions for their clients.” Smith added. “From the government who brought you the Green Energy Act, we have the next feeding trough for special interest groups.”

Of more concern to Smith was the cost that this scheme would inflict on the local economy.

“When you put a cap and trade scheme on top of already increasing hydro bills, on top of the new payroll tax the government is introducing, on top of a growing red tape burden, you’re making it more expensive for any business to stay in Ontario.” Smith concluded. “Cap and trade makes everything from gas, to heat and hydro, to groceries more expensive. It’s going to make life more expensive for businesses and working class Ontarians all over this province.”

 

For More Information:  Mitch Heimpel | todd.smith@pc.ola.org | 416 325 2702 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Disaster Relief Funding from IBC

 

 

For Immediate Release

April 7, 2015

Todd Smith, MPP for Prince Edward – Hastings, joined the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), in the presentation of cheques to support local flood relief efforts for flood victims in both Centre Hastings and the City of Belleville.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada presented the Centre Hastings Flood Relief Effort with a $2,500 donation and the Belleville Flood Relief Effort with a $5,000 donation.

Belleville and Tweed were two of the hardest hit jurisdictions, faced with impassable roads and breached basements, wells and septic systems. More than 200 homeowners in Tweed were affected as well as 70 homes in and around the Foxboro area.

The Ontario government announced last July it was ready to dispense up to $300,000 to support flood recovery efforts for affected residents, through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP).

For every dollar raised by local flood relief committees the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program will give two dollars

Provincial funds would be available to make repairs and replace property such as basic furnishings, appliances and clothing.

"Thank you to the Insurance Bureau of Canada for helping to kick start these fundraising campaigns.  I would also like to thank the volunteers, who are working so hard to ensure that these communities get the disaster relief they need." - Todd Smith, MPP Prince Edward - Hastings

 


‘HYDRO ROULETTE’ NO SOLUTION FOR RATEPAYERS

   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 March 27th, 2015

(QUEEN’S PARK) – The Liberal government’s newest changes to the Hydro system in the province will cause the average hydro bill to increase by over $100 per year, according to Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith. The increase, caused by the government removing the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit from hydro bills, is a part of a number of hydro changes being made by the government.

“The last thing that any Ontarian needed was an increase in their hydro bill.” Smith stated. “We’ve seen increases of over a hundred percent in the last five years alone.  Now, this increase is going to hit the average rateayer to the tune of more than a hundred bucks this year.”

The change comes as the government introduced a new policy to try and lower hydro bills for households with an income below $50,000 while increasing them for those over $50,000.

“They aren’t changing anything about the way we produce, distribute or use power and those are the things that affect price.” Smith added. “When you aren’t actually changing the price of power, you’re just making it so a few people are paying less, then the people who aren’t getting the discount are covering more of the cost for producing and distributing electricity.”

The program which was discussed during the last election campaign, has a number of details that aren’t being released.

“In order to qualify for the maximum discount, your household has to make $28,000 a year or less and have seven people in it.” Smith concluded. “This is a policy that’s aimed at making it look like the government is doing something on hydro rates instead of actually doing something. Good hydro policy involves lower rates for everybody. Not this game of Hydro Roulette.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

PC MPP slams putting Pan Am ticket sales on hold

By , Queen's Park Bureau Chief

 

First posted: Monday, March 23, 2015 04:32 PM EDT

 

Pan Am Games gold
The gold medal for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games is unveiled at the Royal Ontario Museum on March 3, 2015. (Michael Peake/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - Organizers of this summer’s Pan Am Games have temporarily put tickets on ice to help boost sales for the Parapan Am Games.

Progressive Conservative MPP Todd Smith said the marketing strategy makes no sense to him.

“It just seems ridiculous to me that they wouldn’t be able to sell tickets for the Pan Am Games and the Parapan Games at the same time, especially when ticket sales are well below what they had forecast,” Smith said Monday. “They’re saying that they’re going to sell 1.2 million tickets to the games. They’ve only sold 300,000 so far.”

Michael Coteau, the cabinet minister responsible for the games, said ticket sales have reached 350,000, and he’s “very, very proud” of that number.

“The reason why we stopped selling the Pan Am tickets to introduce the selling — during a short period — of the Parapan Am tickets is to make sure it gets the right type of attention the Parapan Am Games deserve,” Coteau said.

The Pan Am Games will be held July 10-26, followed by the Parapan Am Games Aug. 7-15.

Athletes with disabilities will compete in numerous sports, including swimming, table tennis, cycling, wheelchair basketball, rugby and tennis.

“This is the first time in the history of Pan Am/Parapan Am Games that we have a live broadcast for the para component that is full throughout the entire duration of the games, the first time that we have medals with Braille on them,” Coteau said. “We’ve built infrastructure that’s the most accessible in the country, if not the world.”

Organizers can spotlight the Parapan Am Games while still selling tickets to the Pan Am Games, Smith argued.

A 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers report warned that the games could come up short about $34 million in anticipated ticket sale revenue, yet Pan Am Games tickets have not been available to purchasers since March 9 and won’t be back online until mid-April, Smith said.

“I just want to know, will Ontario taxpayers be forced to pick up the tab for your inability to plan and to sell the tickets for the games?” Smith asked Coteau during question period Monday.

A minister’s spokesman said Pan Am ticket sales were also closed to allow for seat allocations, a common process in major sporting events such as the Olympics.

antonella.artuso@sunmedia.ca

 

 

 

SMITH OPPOSES GOVERNMENT’S GAS TAX INCREASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 26th, 2014

(QUEEN’S PARK) – In December, a report commissioned by the Liberal Government recommended a ten cent per litre increase in the gas tax. On Wednesday, at Queen’s Park, Members of Provincial Parliament were given their first chance to weigh in on the controversial proposal in the form of a PC motion opposing it. The proposal won the support of the government members while the opposition PC caucus and Prince Edward-Hastings MPP, Todd Smith, opposed the imposition of a higher gas tax on Ontario’s drivers. The motion was defeated by a vote of 41-38 as only three NDP members vote to oppose the government’s plan to increase the gas tax.

"When the Government’s panel came back in December and recommended a ten cent increase in the gas tax, my office was flooded with emails, phone calls, letters and social media messages asking where I stood on the issue.” Smith stated. "I was happy to oppose the gas tax increase today but I think this is something the government is going to bring up again in the future.”

The ten cents per litre increase in the gas tax would be used, allegedly, to fund transit projects in the Toronto area. The report, issued by the Ministry of Transportation in December highlights a number of tax and fee increases that could be used to fund the same Toronto area projects. The idea of a ten cent per litre increase in the gas tax is one that Premier Kathleen Wynne has refused to back away from and one that members of her caucus today, voted to support.
"Ten cents a litre hits everyone.” Smith continued. "It hits farmers, it hits manufacturing because of the increased transportation costs but it hits families hard at a time when many of them are already feeling the pinch. This government has already doubled your hydro rate, now they want you paying an extra ten cents a litre every time you drive to work or take the kids to hockey.”

A ten cent per litre increase in the gas tax would give Ontario, by far, the highest gas tax in the country. Smith said that an increase in gas tax would hit his rural and older constituents hardest. The other problem, Smith concluded, was that people had lost trust that the government would spend the money wisely. "The question really is, can you trust the same people that brought you the billion dollar gas plant scandal with more of your money?”

 

For Information Contact: Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

 

Click HERE to Download Press Release.

 


 

 

 

 

 

"UP FOR BID” – LACK OF RESPECT FOR DEMOCRACY IN APPEALS PROCESS

February 21, 2014

 

(BELLEVILLE) – News came late on Thursday night that the Ontario Divisional Court would be overturning the decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal as it pertains to the Gilead wind project scheduled for Ostrander Point. The original ERT decision was arrived at after a community group; the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists appealed the decision by the Ministry of Environment to grant approval to the project in the first place.

"The deck is stacked.” Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith stated. "Across Ontario we’re talking about small, rural municipalities with small budgets being asked to defend their citizens from the money of major multinational wind developers and the province of Ontario. Even when they win, they’re going to lose because they’ll keep getting dragged into court until the side with the most money wins.”

Smith’s strong words for how the Liberals have stacked the deck against small municipalities continued. "The environmental review system surrounding these projects is up for bid. If you’re a wind company, with enough money, this government has made sure you can get what you want.”

The decision handed down by the Ontario Divisional Court on Thursday can still be appealed at the Ontario Court of Appeals. As of Friday afternoon, there was no indication from the community members who had launched the initial ERT appeal as to whether they intended to pursue that step. The group is two-thirds of the way to their fundraising goal for their legal fund.

"This is a project on Crown Land. The government can pull the plug on it whenever they want. I can’t believe that they would use taxpayer dollars to fight the people of Prince Edward County in court after their democratically elected municipal representatives have passed multiple resolutions saying they oppose the project.” Smith added. "When Kathleen Wynne came to Quinte a few months ago and said she was going to listen to local voices on these projects, what she forgot to tell the people of Prince Edward County was that she was only going to listen to their voices if they said what she wanted to hear.”

 

For Information Contact:Mitch Heimpel | 416 325 2702 | todd.smith@pc.ola.org

 


 

Todd Write's Letter to Energy Minister

January 10, 2014

Propane Rates

Today, Todd Smith, MPP for Prince Edward - Hastings wrote a letter to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli in regards to increasing propane costs.

To read the letter, please click HERE

 


 

Hydro One Complaints

January 10, 2014


This week, Todd Smith, MPP for Prince Edward - Hastings wrote a letter to the Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli in regards to the many complaints his office has been receiving with the services from hydro one.

Todd addresses these issues in his letter HERE.


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