Nicholls noted the current Green Energy Act would be scrapped if Brown is permitted to govern Ontario. “We're not against green (energy), but it's got to be affordable energy,” he said. “We know the cost for these industrial wind turbines and the price that people are paying to subsidize these industrial wind turbines, is driving the prices of hydro up.”
Chatham-Kent will see a concrete change if the Ontario Progressive Conservatives are given a mandate to lead after the June provincial election.
In a year-end interview, Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Rick Nicholls said a concrete median barrier would be built along Highway 401 through Chatham-Kent.
Nicholls said he has been told by PC party leader Patrick Brown that “a PC government will build the concrete barrier.”
The local MPP has been deeply involved in the citizen-driven ‘Build the Barrier’ campaign – to have a concrete median be installed between Chatham-Kent and London in light of some fatal cross median crashes earlier this year along that stretch of Highway 401.
The Ministry of Transportation’s office has indicated a high-tension cable barrier is being considered for that stretch of highway.
Nicholls said he asked the MTO if they could provide a comparison of the cost for one kilometre of concrete barrier versus one kilometre of high-tension cable.
“They couldn’t provide me with that.”
He also asked, when work was still being done on Highway 401 in the Tilbury area, if the contract could be opened to include concrete barriers.
Nicholls said he was told it could be done, but added, “the sad part is they did not open that up and now all the barriers are removed.”
Now that winter is here, Nicholls has particular concerns with the stretch of 401 from Queen’s Line to Highway 40 where there have been several incidents of tractor trailers spinning out through the median.
Meanwhile, Nicholls said he has also been working with Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton to address the issue of several water wells that have gone turbid in the former Chatham Township area since construction began on a wind turbine farm in the area.
Nicholls noted the current Green Energy Act would be scrapped if Brown is permitted to govern Ontario.
“We’re not against green (energy), but it’s got to be affordable energy,” he said.
“We know the cost for these industrial wind turbines and the price that people are paying to subsidize these industrial wind turbines, is driving the prices of hydro up.”
The MPP said Ontario has among the highest energy costs, which is putting a financial strain on many businesses and residents.
The PCs have looked at the numbers, and Nicholls said in addition to the 25 per cent reduction offered by the Liberal government, “we will actually lower energy costs by additional 12 per cent.”
He said this will be done through efficiencies and looking at the various contracts that municipalities and the Liberal government have signed with wind turbine companies, to find loopholes.
When it comes to lowering the cost of government, Nicholls said the PCs are looking to find “two pennies on every dollar spent, in efficiencies.”
Some people may see that as cutting services, but Nicholls said, “no it’s not. We’re going to find better ways of doing things, to streamline, to make it more efficient without cutting.”
He added any surplus at the end of the year will go directly to start paying down the debt, which now amounts to just under $330 billion.
“We do not have a revenue problem in this province, we have a spending problem,” Nicholls said.
Asked if PC measures to streamline and find efficiencies will cause people to compare it to the former Mike Harris government, Nicholls said: “They can point to the Mike Harris days and we can point to the Bob Rae days and we can point to the Dalton McGuinty days. How far back do people want to go?”
Nicholls predicts when the Ontario Legislature resumes sitting in February, the Liberals will introduce a provincial budget that will be the basis of its election platform.
“My concern and my advice to the public, to my constituents and to Ontarians, is don’t be fooled by this budget.”
Nicholls points to 2003 and 2007 as two occasions when former Premier Dalton McGuinty promised to not raise taxes, but then did.
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