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Can you smell it?

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Sniff, sniff. Can you smell it?

The Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne obviously can—as evidenced by their scramble to tackle the exorbitant hydro rates burdening residents, businesses, and industries right across the province.

First, they decided on an eight-percent rebate effective Jan. 1. Premier Wynne quickly followed that with promises of further relief to be announced prior to the spring budget.

The issue ramped up Monday when the provincial NDP unveiled their plan to cut hydro rates while deeming the contentious time-of-use pricing plan a failure, with leader Andrea Horwath stating: “It didn't provide the kind of conservation or the kind of reduction in use that the Liberals had hoped, and it didn't help people to keep their bills down.”

It sure didn't help people keep their bills down—but not because they weren't trying to conserve energy. The problem was the utility responded by raising rates to make up for the reduced revenue. Talk about farcical.

So why the sudden urgency to reduce hydro rates? The same reason why the Wynne government has been negotiating contract extensions with the various teachers' unions. And the same reason why you can bet the spring budget will contain measures directed at taxpayer relief and more money for services.

Sniff, sniff. Yes, the next provincial election may be 16 months away but the campaign clearly is in the air already.

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