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Growers from Leamington want meeting with Kathleen Wynne over cap-and-trade

Growers from Leamington want meeting with Kathleen Wynne over cap-and-trade

One producer’s bill jumped by more than $20,000 in one month

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

A group of farmers from Leamington, Ont., want a meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne to discuss the province’s new cap-and-trade program.

“Sit down with us, that’s all I ask, do the right thing,” Tony Mastronardi, a greenhouse grower with Mastro T Farms, told CBC.

Mastronardi, along with a group of seven other greenhouse growers from the Leamington area, feel the new cap-and-trade program could spell the end for smaller greenhouse operations due to higher natural gas bills.

"We are established here and we don't know if we are going to survive, I would consider very strongly searching elsewhere to start up again because I don't see a future in Ontario the way it stands," Gerry Mastronardi told CBC.

Another grower, Jamie Diniro, told CBC his gas bill in December 2016 was around $19,000.

But after the cap-and-trade program came into effect, his bill for January 2017 skyrocketed to more than $41,000.

Diniro said Ontario is getting taxed more heavily than other provinces.

"Alberta is settled and British Columbia is settled and we are getting hammered ... we are all Canada here, but we (in Ontario) seem to be getting the brunt of the high tax," Diniro said.

Diniro told CTV News if things don’t change, he may move his operation to the United States, where natural gas prices are cheaper.

“I’ve lived here for 46 years, but on the other hand, I need to feed my family,” Diniro told CTV.