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McGuinty pushed eco-fees despite objections: Sources

Premier Dalton McGuinty personally pushed for the recycling programthat led to eco-fees on consumer products despite objections from atleast four of his cabinet ministers, sources have told the Toronto Star.

Premier Dalton McGuinty personally pushed for the recycling program that led to eco-fees on consumer products despite objections from at least four of his cabinet ministers, sources have told the Toronto Star.

Government insiders said at a February 2008 cabinet meeting, where the doomed scheme was approved, ministers loudly railed against it, fearing political damage to the Liberals.

The senior minister who led the charge warned the premier the policy could spark a backlash if eco-fees were slapped directly on products.

“We can’t do this fast enough,” countered McGuinty, who had been re-elected with a second massive majority government just four months earlier.

But the minister, whose identity is being protected because cabinet discussions are secret, stood his ground.

He predicted it would be a big mistake to effectively cede taxing powers to Stewardship Ontario, an arm’s-length industry group empowered by Queen’s Park to oversee recycling.

The revelations undermine the government’s claim it was caught off-guard by the fallout over the eco-fees that came into effect on July 1.

The fees were scrapped July 20 amid public outcry and a replacement program will be launched by Oct. 18, 2010.

 
 
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