It’s A Government Initiative – What Did You Expect?

Blog - No Comments » - Posted on July, 21 at 7:57 am

From Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun:

Governments have been known to botch things.

And sometimes they make giant flip-flops.

But when they botch a flip-flop, you know they’re in trouble.

Having spent the past 21 days blaming Stewardship Ontario (SO), blaming retailers — even blaming the Tories — Environment Minister John Gerretsen finally took the rap for the eco fee fiasco.

“The bottom line is, Stewardship Ontario could have done a better job rolling out the changes and we, the Ministry of the Environment, the government and I, as minister, could have done a better job of helping them communicate those changes, and I take full responsibility for that,” Gerretsen told reporters at a crow-eating session Tuesday.

The government will ditch the eco fee plan and review the mess over the next 90 days.

So will the fee really end? Or will it simply be buried?

Manufacturers can embed the eco fee into their cost, so a retailer can simply mark up the price — and the hard-pressed customer will cough up and be none the wiser.

The current plan fell apart Monday when Canadian Tire announced it would stop charging eco fees. One suspects they were getting so much blow-back from irate customers at the cash register they had no choice.

SO is made up of retail and manufacturing industry reps and the eco fees went to it.

Gerretsen was supposed to clarify the fees. Instead, he made them more confusing.

You’re not paying eco fees for the next 90 days, right? Wrong. The government is picking up the estimated $4-5 million tab. So all taxpayers are on the hook through their income taxes. And the manufacturers will get a break.

What a boondoggle!

Can the retailers who were including the eco fee in the sticker price continue to charge the same amount, Gerretsen was asked?

“We don’t control what retailers charge for their product,” Gerretsen said.

I’ll take that as a yes.

When is an eco fee not an eco fee? When it’s hidden in the sticker price.

This plan has no transparency, no consistency and no logic.

There are about 9,000 products which must be taken to a so-called Orange Drop recycling depot.

We already recycle some of those items through the Blue Box, which we already pay for out of our municipal taxes.

Those items are taken to a transfer station, sorted and recycled.

Under the new program, consumers become the sorters. You will have to figure out which 9,000 items go to the Orange Drop and which ones go into the Blue Box.

Gerretsen’s staff sent out a lengthy e-mail clarifying what goes Blue and what goes Orange.

“An empty bleach bottle can go in your Blue Box, but if you have left over bleach that can’t be used up, that should be taken to an Orange Drop location so it can be handled properly where it won’t impact our landfills or waterways,” the e-mail explained.

Hold on. I have extra bleach. I want to dispose of it safely. How can I drive it to the Orange Drop centre if the container is in the Blue Box?

What am I supposed to do? Cup it in my hands?

And isn’t the problem with products such as detergent and bleach not so much the left over stuff, but what goes down the drain and into the sewers after you’ve used it?

New Democrat Peter Tabuns put it best.

“Can you spell fiasco?” he asked.

Try: E-C-O F-E-E.

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