Over the past three weeks the Ontario government introduced an eco fee, failed to explain it to anyone, and reeling from the uproar, suspended it for 90 days while it re-groups. We weren’t warned reasonably that the fee was coming, and the government did a very poor job of explaining what they were doing, and consumers and retailers alike were left largely confused.
Are we going to handle environmentally sensitive products in a different way now than we did last month? Or was the idea to penalize consumers for buying products that are difficult to recycle or environmentally ugly? I’m not sure. Maybe we need to find a way to pump more money into the safe recyling and disposal of some products. I don’t know. I’m not against the concept and a public debate on the issue may be in order. Simply sliding the fee in without adequate information or explanation was simply arrogant. The Ontario government needs to show taxpayers what’s wrong with the current state, what they want to change and how they think we can pay for it – in some kind of clear and reasonable way. Maybe nothing has changed and it’s just a tax grab. Since nobody seems to have been set up to answer questions, I don’t think anybody much knows what was going on.
Canadian Tire may have made the PR coup of the year by putting the brakes on and apologizing to consumers. Good for them. Their actions along with the media uproar (former politico turned radio host John Tory has been having a field day with this issue on his drive-home radio show) may have forced the government’s hand. Meanwhile, I haven’t heard what Premier McGuinty has to say on the issue? Where is he on this?
What do you think? Did you know the fee was coming? Were you OK with the rollout? Did you understand what you were going to pay more for and why?