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Donations not driving hydro bills: Minister

There’s nothing wrong with public utilities donating money to the Ontario Liberal Party, Energy Minister Brad Duguid said yesterday after the NDP charged the donations are driving up hydro bills.

There’s nothing wrong with public utilities donating money to the Ontario Liberal Party, Energy Minister Brad Duguid said yesterday after the NDP charged the donations are driving up hydro bills.

The New Democrats released Elections Ontario documents showing that local utilities, including Newmarket-Tay Power and Oakville Hydro, donated thousands of dollars to the Liberal party in the past few years.

“Essex Power put nearly $3,000 into Liberal party coffers, while Thunder Bay Hydro made a donation to the Thunder Bay Superior North Liberal Riding Association,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath told the legislature.

“Why are families who are already feeling the squeeze funding the Ontario Liberal Party when they’re paying their hydro bills?”

Duguid repeatedly refused to answer Horwath’s questions in the legislature, and outside the house defended the political donations by utilities.

“We have the most stringent rules probably ever in Ontario in place and they apply to all three political parties,” said Duguid.

“Those that make donations to the governing party make donations to the opposition generally as well.”

Duguid wouldn’t say if he thought it was appropriate for municipally owned utilities to donate to political parties at a time when electricity rates are rising, repeating his statements about the donations following the rules.

The Progressive Conservatives also refused to support the NDP’s call to change the rules to prohibit local utility companies from making political donations.

“I wouldn’t advocate changing a system that is clear and transparent about where campaign contributions come from,” said Opposition Leader Tim Hudak.

 
 
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