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Ontario NDP tables legislation to regulate prices at pumps as cost of gas skyrockets to new record high


Gas prices hit a new record high this week in Ontario, leading to clashes between the premier—who promised back in 2018 to reduce prices at the pump—and the opposition, who revived legislation that would seek to regulate those costs.

Ontario residents were struck with sticker shock Thursday morning as the price to fill up their vehicles jumped to about $1.67 a litre overnight.

The cost of gas is forecasted to skyrocket another seven cents by Friday, hitting $1.74 per litre, a new record high for the province.

Dan McTeague, President of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said the hike in prices could have been impacted by both the war in Ukraine as well a previous supply issues. He warned that it’s likely the cost of gas will continue to rise.

"That's a price we have never seen or ever paid here," McTeague told CTV News Toronto on Wednesday. "It's well above the record, which is $1.61 per litre."

"I think $1.90 per litre in the Greater Toronto Area is certainly within range … That could happen in the next four to five weeks."

The federal government is also preparing to increase the carbon tax in April, adding more than two cents per litre.

In the legislature Wednesday, the Ontario NDP reintroduced legislation that would regulate prices at the pump by setting a weekly price or daily maximum.

Speaking at Queen’s Park, Leader Andrea Horwath said the goal would be the “elimination of the gouging.”

“Imagine if you’re a (personal support worker) providing home care and you have to drive to each and every patient in your car, how much that’s costing you. Drivers are paying $30 more a month. People can’t afford it,” she said in Question Period.

“So my question to the premier is, why hasn’t he stopped these big oil companies from gouging Ontario drivers like he promised he would do? Why is he saying no?”

Premier Doug Ford responded by calling out Horwath for supporting the carbon tax in the first place and voting against cuts in previous years.

“The leader wanted the largest carbon tax increase in the world, in the absolute world. It’s increased gas prices by 11 cents,” he said.

“They believe in gouging the taxpayers. We believe in putting money back into the taxpayers’ pockets because they can spend it a lot wiser than we can.”

When he was first elected in 2018, Premier Doug Ford promised to reduce the cost of gas by 10 cents a litre. He partially reduced costs by scrapping the cap-and-trade system in Ontario, which the government claims led to a 4.3 cents per litre dip; however the federal government implemented its own carbon tax shortly after.

This, the government says, wiped out any previous savings.

As Ford prepares for another election campaign, he appears to have changed his tune—suggesting that he would only cut the price of gas if the federal government did the same.

According to the government, a law proposed by the NDP Wednesday would not result in relief at the pumps.

"The Ontario Energy Board has, in the studies that they've done, has shown that regulating gas prices actually doesn't result in lower gas prices,” Minister of Energy Todd Smith said.

Bill 91, the “Fairness in Petroleum Products Pricing Act,” carried through its first reading at the legislature. The legislation is a revival of Bill 7 in 2018, which has been stuck in committee since September 2018. Top Stories

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