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

  • 3 dogs give avalanche rescuers hope but 22 people missing

    World News Toronto Sun
    FARINDOLA, Italy — Rescue crews say they have found three puppies alive in the rubble of an Italian mountain hotel slammed by an avalanche. Firefighter spokesman Fabio German said the discovery signals that there are still chances of finding some of the 23 people still buried under the snow alive. Source
  • Defence lawyer in Quebec terrorism trial argues confession is inadmissible

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The case of a Quebec man charged with attempting to leave the country to participate in the activities of a terrorist group is hearing arguments about the admissibility of his statements to police. Source
  • Psychologists say they can inoculate people against fake news

    World News CBC News
    Researchers have found that there may be a way to vaccinate people against climate change misinformation. The key? Telling them lies. A team of psychologists from the University of Cambridge, Yale University and George Mason University studied the effect of "fake news" about climate change and how it can shift people's opinions. Source
  • Student stabbed in chest at Toronto school

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Police say a 17-year-old boy has been rushed to hospital with serious injuries after being stabbed in the chest at a Toronto school. They say his injuries are not life-threatening and they have a suspect in custody. Source
  • Lawsuit alleges Trump business ties violate Constitution [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — A lawsuit Monday alleged that President Donald Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his business to accept payments from foreign governments. Trump is violating the so-called emoluments clause in the Constitution that prohibits him from receiving money from diplomats for stays at his hotels or foreign governments for leases of office space in his buildings, according to the suit filed by a legal watchdog group. Source
  • Alta. woman robbed, assaulted after stopping to help with broken down car

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- A Good Samaritan who stopped to help four women by an apparently broken down car was robbed and assaulted west of Calgary. RCMP say the woman was driving east on the Trans-Canada Highway near Highway 68 on Saturday when she saw four women standing beside a car with the hood up. Source
  • Garland trial: RCMP found blood, burning barrel after accused's arrest

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- A trial has heard that RCMP mounted what they thought was going to be a rescue mission at the home of a man charged in the disappearance of a Calgary couple and their five-year-old grandson. Source
  • Trump critics pounce on DoD tweet about mental health

    World News CTV News
    The U.S. Department of Defence put out a rather on-the-nose tweet about recognizing the signs of mental illness on social media Monday, triggering a wave of snide remarks that the message was aimed at U.S. Source
  • White House press secretary: Round 2 LIVE

    World News CBC News
    Tamara Lovett, charged with negligence in death of 7-year-old son, to learn fate Source
  • White House press secretary LIVE

    World News CBC News
    Tamara Lovett, charged with negligence in death of 7-year-old son, to learn fate Source