Ont. finance minister knew 2014 election would challenge auto insurance promise

TORONTO -- Ontario's finance minister was hard-pressed Monday to explain why he continued to declare publicly that the government would meet an election pledge to cut auto insurance rates despite being aware that keeping the promise would be challenging.

See Full Article

The Liberal government failed to cut auto insurance rates by 15 per cent by its self-imposed deadline of August 2015 -- a promise that was part of a deal to get NDP support for the 2013 budget when they were still a minority government.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said last week that her government "always knew it was a stretch goal."

The opposition parties said this was news to them, as the government consistently held out the promise as an achievable one.

When asked about Wynne's "stretch goal" comments Monday before a cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Charles Sousa noted that the 2014 election delayed the passage of legislation the government said would reduce rates for drivers.

"The moment we came into an election, the moment the delays were occurring, we knew that we were going to have challenges," he said Monday.

But when the government introduced the legislation aimed at tackling insurance fraud and inflated towing costs in July 2014, following the election that gave the Liberals a majority, Sousa insisted the 15-per-cent goal could be met by the following August.

In October of 2014 Sousa again said the target could be met.

When the legislation passed the next month, Sousa still spoke of the August 2015 goal and did not suggest it couldn't be met.

The second-quarter rates for 2015 were posted in July and had only declined on average by 6.46 per cent since August 2013. Sousa said the plan to tackle auto insurance fraud and reduce costs was working, but the government wanted to "go even further."

"Our reforms have sent rates lower on average over the last two years and there's more to do to reduce rates by 15 per cent on average," Sousa said, with no mention of it being a "stretch goal."

On Monday he called it "an ongoing issue."

"It's not at any one point or one date that matters to me, it's just the ongoing ability for us to reduce the cost of claims to further reduce our insurance premiums," Sousa said.

NDP critic Jagmeet Singh said the election only delayed the business of the legislature by little more than a month.

"That doesn't explain the 2 1/2 years," Singh said.

"If something is a priority the government can do it. They haven't made reducing premiums a priority."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Timeline of events leading up to Brexit

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Here is a timeline of key events related to Britain's decision to leave the European Union: Jan. 23, 2013: British Prime Minister David Cameron promises a referendum on Britain's membership to the EU if the Conservative party is elected in the next general election. Source
  • Latest on Brexit: U.K. must be left worse off after split, EU presidency says

    World News CTV News
    LONDON - The Latest on Brexit (all times local): 11:05 a.m. The European Union presidency says it is "imperative" that Britain must be left with a worse option than membership once Brexit negotiations are over. Source
  • Turkey wants to talk extradition of cleric living in U.S. with Rex Tillerson

    World News CBC News
    Turkey will discuss Syria and the extradition of U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed for a failed coup last July, with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he visits Ankara this week, Turkey's foreign minister said on Wednesday. Source
  • Purolator back to business as usual, as agreement reached with union

    Canada News CBC News
    Purolator will be accepting packages again Wednesday after the company has reached a tentative agreement overnight with its largest union, averting a strike.Purolator stops accepting new parcelsThe agreement must still be ratified by Teamsters Canada, the union representing more than 8,000 members who work at Purolator. Source
  • Raqqa residents trapped by militants ahead of assault

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- As U.S.-backed forces bear down on the de facto capital of the Islamic State group, the militants have taken their strategy of hiding behind civilians further than ever before, effectively using the entire population of Raqqa as human shields. Source
  • 'How dare you say these hateful things?' Woman takes on Islamophobia at school board meeting

    Canada News CBC News
    A Toronto area woman who confronted a group of people shouting Islamophobic comments at a Peel District School Board meeting told CBC News that the energy in the room that night was "explosive" and "sick." Christina Dixon, who grew up in the Peel Region and has a child who goes to school in the district, can be seen in videos of last Wednesday's meeting standing and shouting "Shame on you!" at a man who is ripping pages out of a Qur'an. Source
  • Trudeau government's vacant appointments backlog up 80%

    Canada News CBC News
    Five months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government assured Canadians that its new system would soon fix the backlog of appointments that need to be filled, the problem has gotten much worse. An analysis by CBC News reveals that one in three governor in council positions — ranging from directors of government agencies to members of tribunals that hear appeals of employment insurance or pension disputes — is currently vacant or occupied by an appointee whose term is past its expiry…
  • Byelection performance can be predictive of future results

    Canada News CBC News
    After the votes are counted in Monday's five federal byelections, only the parties that make gains will want to talk about the results. The others will point out that byelections are local affairs that tell us nothing about broader national trends; that they don't really matter. Source
  • 'I feel duped': Why bank employees with impressive but misleading titles could cost you big time

    Canada News CBC News
    Mike Black says he feels "completely betrayed" after trusting RBC employees with impressive-sounding titles to manage his life savings, only to earn far below the market average for six years. "I worked 35 years at two jobs and saved up a considerable amount due to the fact that I didn't have a pension and would need money for retirement," said Black, who managed to put away nearly $1 million. Source
  • Deadline for women to opt out of RCMP sex harassment settlement is today

    Canada News CBC News
    Today is the deadline for female Mounties to decide if they want to opt out of a historic sexual harassment class action lawsuit. Any woman who has worked as a civilian or regular member of the RCMP is eligible to file a claim under the negotiated settlement to compensate for on-the-job harassment and abuse. Source