The bill will help develop a new natural gas program
By Diego Flammini
The provincial government is taking steps to help communities in rural and northern Ontario access natural gas.
Today, Premier Doug Ford announced his Cabinet will introduce legislation tomorrow to help develop a new natural gas program that will encourage more private sector involvement.
“In the last election, we promised to enable privately-funded natural gas expansion, (and) to expand natural gas access to more communities in rural and northern Ontario,” Ford said this afternoon during the opening ceremonies of the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo in Chatham-Kent.
“This new program led by the private sector would provide natural gas to as many as 78 communities and 33,000 new households across all of rural and northern Ontario,” he said.
A new natural gas program paired with cancelling the cap-and-trade carbon tax will save families about $80 per year and small businesses about $285 per year on gas bills, he said.
The private sector involvement is also an indication that Ontario is “open for business,” Ford added.
Investments into natural gas could bring in more rural development.
"Expanding natural gas will make Ontario communities more attractive for job creation and new businesses," Monte McNaughton, minister of infrastructure, said in a statement today.
Premier Ford also restated his support for protecting the ag industry in trade agreements.
Along with Jim Wilson, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, Ford will travel to Washington D.C. tomorrow to meet with federal officials about ongoing NAFTA negotiations.
Ontario will not support a trade deal that does not protect two of its largest industries, Ford stressed.
“Any NAFTA deal must protect Ontario jobs in both (the) auto and agriculture sectors,” he said. “Farm jobs are not a bargaining chip. Not now, not ever.”
Lisa Hepfner/Twitter photo
IPM opening ceremony begins at 8:35 of the video.
Premier Ford's remarks begin at 26:00 of the video.