“I can barely afford to live here in Ontario myself right now.
....turn off power from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday...Jan 13
Sharon Chartrand not only has to make tough decisions between her energy bills and other expenses, but which rooms in her Whitefish home to heat.
"We have to heat one room at a time," Chartrand said. "I've got a curtain on my porch, so I don't have to heat my porch and I can keep my living room warm, things like that."
It's just one more way the cost of living has become too high under Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government, Chartrand said, and one more reason why Ontarians need to fight back against rising utility costs.
A key focus for Chartrand is the cost of hydro. A retiree who receives a $900 Canada Pension cheque per month, she told The Star her hydro bill for the same period regularly tops $400, leaving little for other expenses, and the HST rebate announced last year by Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault, the provincial energy minister, has made little difference.
"I feel that Premier Wynne is causing debt traps for Ontarians, and Mr. Glenn Thibeault, our MPP here in Sudbury, no one is helping us," Chartrand said. "They're sinking us and pushing us to look at other avenues for survival. We're not living anymore; we're in survival mode now.
"I can barely afford to live here in Ontario myself right now. People are soon going to be leaving their homes and families to go elsewhere to live, because prices of gas, food, hydro will and have already caused bankruptcy for a lot of people. They're using every means at their disposal to pay their bills, maxing out their credit cards, used all their life savings, and it's still not enough."
Chartrand joined a group called Hydro One - Enough is Enough, which boasts more than 30,000 members on Facebook, and she has organized protests in Greater Sudbury against the rising cost of hydro. She has also taken part at rallies and marches, such as one on Thibeault's office this past fall.
On Friday, Chartrand will join with Hydro One - Enough is Enough members for another protest which will see them turn off their power from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in an attempt to get both the provincial utility and the government's attention.
"We're asking people to shut off their power and plan to go shopping in that hour, go skating, go to a movie, play outside with your grandkids, take a walk with your pet, go visit someone you haven't seen in a while," Chartrand said. "I know it's in the middle of January, but I know it will not affect our water pipes, it will not affect our foundations, et cetera, but it will get the attention of our Liberal government."
For more information about the protest, find Hydro One - Enough is Enough on Facebook.
"We're looking for someone to show some understanding and compassion and empathy," Chartrand said. "The good old Canadian way."