School children should not pay the price for the Liberals’ failed energy policies: NDP

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VANCOUVER – The B.C. Liberals are asking school children to pay the price for their incompetent and deceptive management of B.C. Hydro, say New Democrats.

“Liberal Education Minister Peter Fassbender is advising school boards – and the parents, students and teachers that make up the district – that they cope with the Liberals’ 28 per cent Hydro rate hike by shutting down valuable local schools.

“With this callous proposition, the Liberal government is continuing to disrespect the public. First, the rate increase at B.C. Hydro was caused by Liberal policies and incompetence: from buying expensive power we can’t sell, fudging the books with deferral accounts to create the false impression that the Liberals balanced the budget, wasting money on smart meters, to cost overruns.

“Furthermore, before and during the election, the premier, her ministers and candidates, including Mr. Fassbender deliberately misled people about the future of hydro rates. They told British Columbians that rates would not increase, and that it was important to keep rates low. Now, instead of taking responsibility for what they have done, the Liberals are saying students should pay the price for their decisions, which include continuing to use hydro revenues to hide a budget deficit, ” said New Democrat leader Adrian Dix.

Clark’s education minister Peter Fassbender is telling the Vancouver School Board that it should look at closing schools as a way to deal with higher electricity costs stemming from the double digit rate hike announced this week. Dix countered Fassbender’s proposition outside Champlain Annex school, where he was joined by local MLAs Mable Elmore and Kathy Corrigan.

“Local students, teachers, parents, and communities prevented a potential crisis in public education just a few years ago when they succeeded in keeping schools like Champlain Annex open. The Liberals’ refusal to recognize the trend of increasing enrollment put such schools under threat. Today Champlain Annex is essentially at full capacity,” explained Elmore.

“Fassbender’s proposal that school children pay the price for his government’s mismanagement of B.C. Hydro is incredulous. It is not a solution to create a crisis in public education to deal with the crisis you have created in B.C. Hydro that is driving up rates,” noted Corrigan.