QUEEN’S PARK – Last night, the Liberals told the media they would meet PC demands to repay millions of dollars in illegal profits made from overcharging Ontario drivers for emissions tests, but they did not commit to present a plan that would scrap the Drive Clean program altogether, PC Environment Critic and Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said today.
“For the last two weeks, we have been calling on the Liberal government to immediately pay back every cent that it has illegally taken from Ontarians using Drive Clean,” Harris said. “Although it is good to hear the Liberals say that they will meet our demand in their fall economic statement, we are now waiting to see if they will present a credible plan to immediately begin phasing out the program.”
More than two and a half years ago, PC Leader Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Caucus began demanding that the Liberal government scrap Drive Clean after it was found that the program had achieved its mandate.
Drive Clean was set up as a temporary program with the very specific purpose of reducing vehicle emissions that contribute to smog until advances in fuel efficiency and standards caught up. The evidence shows that happened three years ago. From 1999 to 2010, the percentage of vehicles that failed emissions testing had dropped from 16% to 5%.
“Unfortunately, the Liberals went in the opposite direction earlier this year, when they replaced the previous tailpipe test, which is a true measure of emissions, with a new computerized test that is less reliable and more prone to error,” Harris said. “Now the failure rate of the program is on the rise, not because of emissions-related problems, but because of a computer glitch,” Harris said. “It’s clear that the Liberals introduced their faulty e-test in a cynical attempt to keep this temporary program running indefinitely.”
Nearly 11,500 frustrated Ontario drivers have voiced their opposition to the Liberals’ e-test by signing the Ontario PCs’ online petition at ScrapDriveClean.ca.