MPP Mantha renews push to take HST off home heating

QUEEN’S PARK—After reintroducing his ‘HST Rebate for Home Heating Bill’ last week, NDP Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha said the measure is needed now more than ever.

“Since 2011, when I previously introduced this bill, things have gotten less affordable for the average Ontario family,” said Mr. Mantha. “Everything seems to be getting more expensive, yet Ontarians who have managed to hang on to their jobs generally aren’t seeing big raises, and thousands of Ontarians have lost their jobs. This bill is a simple way to put some hard earned money back into the pockets of the people who need it most.”

Mr. Mantha says the constant stream of examples of government waste, and the threat of 42 percent higher power rates, make the situation even worse.

“When Ontarians hear about millions of dollars being wasted on executive bonuses and pay at the OPG while they are producing less power with less staff, it makes their blood boil,” said Mr. Mantha. “Compound that with the Liberals telling them they will just have to live with increasing hydro rates and the whole situation just seems increasingly unfair.”

The bill, formally titled ‘Bill 154, Retail Sales Tax Amendment Act 2013,’ would remove the HST from natural gas and oil home heating bills. For many households, it will mean a savings of at least $100. According to Mr. Mantha, this bill is a practical step towards making life more affordable for average Ontarians.

Last week, the Liberals and PCs teamed up to defeat a motion by NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson that would have stopped the province from signing power contracts, while empowering the Auditor General to review existing contracts. Private contracts are at the root of the gas plant scandal, which could costs Ontario ratepayers over $1 billion when settled, Mr. Mantha states.

“Instead of lining the pockets of political insiders and wealthy executives, let’s help out the families and people who need it most,” said Mr. Mantha. “If we want to get serious about helping the Ontario economy grows, we need to make sure that the average person can afford to live here.”