Liberal government must scrap tire-tax cartel now
QUEEN’S PARK – Today, the Ontario PC Caucus called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to immediately move forward with phasing out the Liberals’ tire-tax program in light of new allegations of fraud at Ontario Tire Stewardship and after an audit concluded the more-than $70 million in tire taxes collected every year is “too inviting for manipulation.”
“Taxpayers were outraged when they learned earlier this year that Ontario Tire Stewardship was blowing their tire-tax dollars on fancy dinners of elk tenderloin, expensive bottles of cabernet sauvignon and lavish stays at the Fairmount Chateau Laurier,” PC Environment Critic Lisa Thompson said today in response to the audit’s findings.
“Now an audit of this Liberal recycling cartel has found there are little to no safeguards in place to protect Ontarians’ tax dollars,” Thompson continued. “To protect taxpayers, Ontario Tire Stewardship should immediately undergo a forensic audit to ensure that any money improperly spent is returned to Ontarians.”
Yesterday, all parties voted in favour of Bill 151, the Waste-Free Ontario Act. The Ontario PCs have long championed a plan to increase waste diversion by eliminating eco-tax programs and making businesses responsible for meeting recycling standards and targets. The Liberals adopted this approach in Bill 151, but provided no firm guarantees that they really will eliminate eco-taxes.
Thompson secured a key change to the bill in committee that strengthens accountability by requiring the Environment Minister to report back to the House every year on the progress being made toward phasing out eco-taxes.
“Ontarians need to understand that eco-taxes are still being charged. That means when you go to buy new tires, you will still pay a tire tax at the cash register,” Thompson said. “Bill 151 gives the government the ability to eliminate eco-taxes, but it’s now up to all of us to ensure the Liberals actually follow through.”