Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, in Sarnia on Tuesday for a roundtable discussion facilitated by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, came with a consensus message that electricity prices in the province are unsustainable from a business standpoint.
The meeting, which was organized by the Chamber, took place at the Versatile Inn Hotel, formerly branded as a Howard Johnson and owned by Mehru Malik, a member of the Chamber.
The high cost of energy is an issue that Malik says is at least partly responsible for the pressures her business is currently experiencing.
Horwath, who specifically travelled to Sarnia to engage members of the business community, outlined her party’s plans to overhaul what she says is an unsustainable electrical distribution system in the province, a strategy that she publicly unveiled on Monday.
That strategy includes plans to buy back shares of Hydro One that the government has sold and to eliminate time of use on electric bills.
Chamber members that were gathered for Horwath’s visit included Rick Perdeux, owner of Toolrite Engineering and chair of the Sarnia Lambton Industrial Alliance.
Other members present included Karen Sanders, co-owner of Hog Wild, a pork producer who represents the Lambton Federation of Agriculture on the Chamber’s board; Kathleen Mundy, owner of five Little Caesar’s franchise locations; Mary Jean O’Donnell, owner of MJ Waste Solutions; and Eric Parsons, who owns two Coffee Culture locations in Sarnia.
Chamber CEO Shirley de Silva, also present, told Horwath that Chamber members have consistently pointed to the issue of electricity pricing in the province as being one that directly impacts their competitiveness.
Michael John Kooy, who is now Chair of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, echoed that sentiment, telling Horwath that the business community is deeply concerned over the impact the issue has on the long-term competitiveness of business.
“We know the message is one that needs to continually be told,” said Kooy, adding that Horwath’s visit was appreciated by all in attendance.