QUEEN’S PARK – The Liberal government has rejected numerous calls from the Ontario Progressive Conservatives to scrap the province’s redundant Drive Clean program, which has veered into becoming an illegal tax, PC Environment Critic and Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said today.
“It was never the mandate of the Drive Clean program to make money. But that didn’t stop the Liberal government from illegally raking in $19 million in profits over the last two years,” Harris said. “We immediately called the government out on this abuse of Ontarians’ money, while the NDP remained silent for nearly a full month.”
NDP Leader Andrew Horwath now says she wants the government to lower Drive Clean fees, yet she seems content to leave this temporary program running indefinitely.
“Drive Clean was set up with the very specific purpose of reducing vehicle emissions that contribute to smog until advances in fuel efficiency and standards caught up. Well, that happened three years ago,” Harris said.
From the program’s inception in 1999 to 2010, the percentage of vehicles that failed the previous tailpipe-emissions test had dropped from 16% to 5%, as a result advances in technology and tighter manufacturing standards.
“That’s why PC Leader Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Caucus began calling on the Liberal government, more than two and a half years ago, to scrap Drive Clean,” Harris said. “Instead of taking a stand on this issue, the NDP have spent the last two years passing Liberal legislation and budgets that have made life more unaffordable for Ontarians. So they have absolutely no credibility to criticize the Drive Clean program now.”
More than 12,000 Ontario drivers have voiced their opposition to the province’s emissions-testing program by signing the Ontario PCs’ online petition at ScrapDriveClean.ca.