Schreiner to Lib’s: “Ontarians deserve fair share of the province’s resource wealth”

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GPO leader Mike Schreiner is calling on the Liberal government to end the fire sale of Ontario’s natural resources as the government struggles to balance its budget. 

"...crazy that the [Ontario] government charges $3.71 per million litres for water taking while a 500 ml bottle of water often costs $2”

“…crazy that the [Ontario] government charges $3.71 per million litres for water taking while a 500 ml bottle of water often costs $2”

“It’s irresponsible for the Liberals to sell off our natural resources at rock bottom prices, especially when the province’s finances are a mess,” says Schreiner. “The people of Ontario deserve their fair share of the province’s resource wealth.”

The Liberal government is looking at selling public assets such as Hydro One and extracting more money from alcohol sales. Yet, the Liberals have made no effort to maximize the value of Ontario’s natural resources, even though the Drummond Report called for increasing natural resource revenues, which would also create incentives to use them efficiently.

Ontario has the lowest effective mining royalty rate in Canada after all tax breaks are counted. In 2010 and 2011 the province’s mining industry extracted metals and minerals valued at $17 billion but only paid 1.4% ($250 million) for these resources. The average Canadian rate for the same period was 5.6%. Saskatchewan’s public return was over 9%.

Makes No Sense

Ontario only charges 11.5 cents/tonne for aggregate extraction. Quebec charges 50 cents/tonne. The province’s water-taking levy for industrial purposes is only $3.71 per million litres.

“It’s crazy that the government charges $3.71 per million litres for water taking, while a 500 ml bottle of water often costs $2,” adds Schreiner. “There is something wrong with Liberal math, and I’m going to push this government to stop allowing resource companies to rip us off.”

The GPO recommends the 2015 budget include:

  •     An increase to the levy for aggregates from 11.5 cents per tonne to a minimum of 50 cents per tonne, which is equivalent to the levy in Quebec. Over time, the levy must be set at a rate that increases funding for the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of the Environment and municipalities to cover all costs associated with aggregate extraction and rehabilitation.
  •     An increase in the water-taking levy for phase one industrial and commercial purposes from $3.71 per million litres to $13.71 per million litres. The ministry should commit to a review of the water taking levy to expand prescribed users and establish a cost recovery rate.
  •     An immediate increase in mining royalties to the Canadian average of a 5.6% return on gross revenue with plans to increase the rate of return to 10%.

These changes would increase government revenue by $830 million to $1.4 billion. For the Silo, Samantha Bird

1 Comment to Schreiner to Lib’s: “Ontarians deserve fair share of the province’s resource wealth”

  1. Anna Johnston

    If you could write the federal budget bill, what new laws would it contain? Perhaps an environmental bill of rights to protect Canadians’ rights to healthy air, water and land? Perhaps an act to ensure that all projects are assessed for their positive contributions to the environment, communities and the economy? A law to protect future generations by requiring Canada reduce its greenhouse gas emission? A law requiring the government to base its decisions in science, rather than ideology?

    Hold onto your hats – the federal government has done just that! Today, green groups across Canada are celebrating a new, visionary omnibus budget bill, an Act so green that it will make Canada a leader in sustainability.

    Hey, we were skeptical, too. But after reviewing budget Bill C-777, West Coast Environmental Law has confirmed that it contains the greenest laws in Canadian history. Even Scandinavia will start looking to us as examples of resource and economic responsibility!

    Among Bill C-777’s highlights:
    •Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Corporate Practices Act
    •An Act to Streamline the Protection of the Environment Through the Expeditious Discovery and Avoidance of Environmental Hazards, Health Risks, Potential Environmental Disasters and Breaches of Aboriginal Title and Rights
    •First Nations’ Control of First Nations Land Act, which recognizes First Nations governance over their traditional territories according to their ancestral environmental laws, and requires the Crown to honour the treaties it has signed.
    Read more about Bill C-777, the “Sustainable Jobs, Growth within Limits, and a Healthy Environment and Prosperity for Future Generations Act” on our website. You can also check out the Table of Contents for the Bill here.

    Sincerely,

    Anna Johnston, Staff Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law Association

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