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

  • Trump, Modi show unity between world's largest democracies

    World News CTV News
    HOUSTON -- Deafening drums marked the entrance of President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they clasped hands and walked across the stage in a packed Texas stadium Sunday, sending a message of unity between the world's two largest democracies despite trade tensions. Source
  • Trump suggests he raised Biden with Ukraine's president

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump suggested Sunday that he raised former Vice-President Joe Biden and Biden's son in a summer phone call with Ukraine's new leader, as Democrats pressed for investigations into whether Trump improperly used his office to try to dig up damaging information about a political rival. Source
  • Area 51 festival wraps up in Nevada; Earthlings head home

    World News CTV News
    HIKO, Nev. -- The festivals are over and Earthlings from around the globe headed home Sunday after a weekend camping and partying in the dusty Nevada desert and trekking to remote gates of Area 51, a formerly top-secret U.S. Source
  • Florida senators want to let Canadian snowbirds stay in state longer

    World News CTV News
    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Florida's two senators want the state's Canadian snowbirds to stay a little longer. U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott last week introduced legislation that would allow Canadian visitors to spend eight months a year in the United States, two months longer than is currently allowed. Source
  • Arab bloc in Israel endorses Benny Gantz for prime minister

    World News CBC News
    The Arab bloc in Israel's parliament broke with tradition Sunday and endorsed Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz for prime minister, giving the former military chief an edge for the job over incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu. Source
  • A student with autism needed a quiet place to work. His desk was put in a bathroom stall

    World News CTV News
    A school district in Washington state is facing criticism for putting the desk of a student with autism in a bathroom stall after his mother said he needed a "quiet place" to do his best work. Source
  • 'Canada is terrible': Wrestling superstar handed speeding ticket in Alberta

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - A wrestling superstar is proclaiming “Canada is terrible” after she was handed a speeding ticket in Alberta. Lacey Evans, who competes with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), posted a video of the incident to her Twitter account Saturday, where it has been viewed more than 236,000 times. Source
  • 911 dispatcher tells man not to call again for 'fried chicken mishaps'

    Canada News CTV News
    A humourous 911 call has a Toronto-area police service reminding people only to call that number in emergency situations – and not when upset with sandwich toppings. Peel Regional Police released audio of the call Saturday. Source
  • Anti-radicalization program evolves to help new Canadians, socially awkward youth

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- The soft-spoken young man wasn't being recruited by neo-Nazis or the Islamic State, but he was in a downward spiral. Andy, who asked not to have his real name published, says he hit rock bottom a few years ago when he was 19. Source
  • The Gathering at Gull Island: Labrador's Innu return to the land to reclaim traditions

    Canada News CBC News
    Tenesh Nuna and Randy Jarvis are happy to be surrounded in nearby tents by more than 30 members of their family.(Alyson Samson/CBC) Every year, the Sheshatshiu Innu Nation hosts a celebration that's about disconnecting from technology and the distractions of life, and returning to the land that once supported its members' ancestors for generations. Source