Northern Ontario Businesses Struggle with Little Help from MPPs

Taylor Sawmill
Proud owners of Taylor Sawmill, Gail and Roslyn Taylor, struggle on a daily basis to keep the doors to their business open and employing 8 people despite the soaring cost of electricity in Northern Ontario.

Over the last few months, the Northern Ontario Party has been approached by desperate business owners looking for any kind of assistance with their outrageous hydro bills. One such business owner is Roslyn Taylor who operates Taylor’s Sawmill on Manitoulin Island. Roslyn, recently posted on Facebook her hydro bill for the month of July. It was nearly $4,000.00 and this was a month where her main saw was down and her company’s production was low. So, you would expect the company’s power bill to be reasonable. But here is what the Taylor’s hydro bill looked like:

Taylor Sawmill’s hydro bill…

Actual usage $840.23 <<<<
Regulatory charge $39.90
DELIVERY $ 2,809.77 !!!
HST $488.20
Credit 8% Rebate – $300.43


This is almost $3,000 in delivery fees and another $550.00 in taxes and debt charges. How are Northern businesses expected to stay operating with outrageous service charges imposed upon them like the ones recorded above. Roslyn explained her hydro bill two years ago was $4,500 during peak production, now her bill is over $6,000.00 during the same period. This has taken a toll on her employees as well, the company once supported 20 employees but since her hydro costs have soared she had no choice but to lower her payroll to 12 employees.

Roslyn has reached out to Mike Mantha, the MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin for assistance and even gave Mr. Mantha a tour of her business. Roslyn stated on her Facebook page that (Mr. Mantha) seemed concerned but nope didn’t help at all. Left it in Hydro One’s hands…. and there was nothing they could do (or willing to do) for us.

NOP - Tom Lee
Tommy Lee, the Northern Ontario Party’s vice president and Algoma hopeful.

Roslyn’s frustration with the lack of help from her MPP is shared by others in the Algoma riding. Tommy Lee, the Northern Ontario Party’s vice president and Algoma hopeful was in a very similar situation himself.

Mr. Lee states he can relate with Roslyn, when he reached out for assistance from Mr. Mantha about his gas station he operated in Heyden and the TSSA issues they were facing.  All Tommy Lee received was a response letter written by Mr. Buck, Mike Mantha’s office assistant.

Tommy states “I never heard a thing from Mike Mantha. We were shut down shortly thereafter. This was the catalyst as to why I’m politically active now and why I have since joined the Northern Ontario Party.”

Mr. Mantha, in fairness did respond to Roslyn’s Facebook posts by stating the following:

“Roslyn Taylor… I certainly wish I could do more Roslyn but with ongoing privatization of our Hydro we will continue to see rising costs until we get a change of priorities. I hear your frustration loud and clear!!!”

And in another post Mr. Mantha stated, “but the change that many expect isn’t going to happen until June 7, 2018 that’s a fact.”

(full Facebook conversation thread can be found at end of story)

The Northern Ontario Party does not agree with this approach too commonly taken by politicians and local MPPs and their belief that they are not in power there is nothing they can do. This is not just an Algoma issue but an issue shared among all Northern ridings, this is why it has taken so long to deal with serious issues that have plague the North, such as the crisis in Grassy Narrows, where their citizens had to endure mercury in their drinking water for far too long.

The Northern Ontario Party believes MPPs, are elected to represent their constituents and for Northern Ontario businesses to survive we need to have active politicians, who are going to fight tooth and nail for them.

The NOP Party Leader, Trevor Holliday states That The time for action is now, not tomorrow, the North can not afford to lose another business, if that means standing shoulder to shoulder with hydro one protesters on a picket line, going to the media with specific concerns or yelling from a soap box to support our northern businesses, the Northern Ontario Party will do it. One thing we will not do is use the excuse there is nothing we can do till the election.

The Northern Ontario Party would like to thank all business owners who struggle on a daily basis to help supply high paying, meaningful jobs to so many in the North; Your struggle has helped to keep the North alive. We also like to thank the grassroot Facebook groups such as Hydro One Enough is Enough and Take Back Your Power Ontario who have fought so hard over the last year to help reduce electricity rates for everyone. Your help has made many lives a little brighter.


Full transcript of Facebook conversation thread (up to time of publishing and obtained with permission):

Anne Casson Have you taken this to Michael Mantha (Mike) · August 18 at 7:02am

Roslyn Taylor YUP! Mike came in for a tour. He said he spent his youth working in a sawmill. Seemed concerned but nope didn’t help at all. Left it in Hydro One’s hands…. and there was nothing they could do (or willing to do) for us. Soon Mike and government will have to pay my debt retirement when I fold and he has to pay welfare to all my employees. So frustrating! · August 18 at 8:46am

Michael Mantha Roslyn Taylor … I certainly wish I could do more Roslyn but with ongoing privatization of our Hydro we will continue to see rising costs until we get a change of priorities. I hear your frustration loud and clear!!! · August 18 at 8:51am

Craig Ferguson Wow that sure was a typical government response Michael Mantha. I want to help you but tough luck. Small business is the back bone of Manitoulin Island the Liberal government is killing it one business at a time. · August 18 at 9:00am

Michael Mantha Craig Ferguson … again giving you a false expectation isn’t going to help. We’ve got problems big problem with our Hydro costs and the Liberals are continuing with privatization of the system … I have stood in my place against those policies and will continue doing so until change comes … but the change that many expect isn’t going to happen until June 7, 2018 that’s a fact. · August 18 at 9:05am

Anne Casson Hydro One is driving consumers to solar and other independent sources and off the grid. Economy of scale will put this in reach soon and Hydro One and Ontario taxpayers will be left holding the bill for the out of place infrastructure when we could have been buying cheap power from Quebec and Manitoba… · August 18 at 9:21am

Myles Clayton Michael Mantha as an MPP you were elected to represent your constituents. You’re presented with a problem that is clearly unfair and all you can say is there is nothing you can do until June 7, 2018. Where is the protest from you and your party? Where is the press conference? where is your soap box? For Northern Ontario businesses to survive we need active politicians, who are going to fight strongly for them. The time for action is now, not tomorrow, the North can not afford to lose another business. A $15 an hour minimum wage job isn’t going to feed our families up here in the North, so it’s crucial to keep these high paying Jobs operating. · August 18 at 9:23am

Myles Clayton Tommy Lee. · August 18 at 9:25am

Michael Mantha Myles Clayton … it would be my pleasure sharing our plan with you please send me your contacts. I’ve been very outspoken on Hydro and it’s no secret we the NDP believe it should be returned to public hands and ownership … again I’d be happy to share that plan with anyone. As for assisting when people or business and in need we always do our best we don’t always succeed but we always try to help. · August 18 at 9:46am

Roslyn Taylor Michael Mantha Did you read my original post. Hydro usage $840.23 and DELIVERY $ 2,809.77 !!! Remember while you were visiting we were undergoing a hardship and the main saw was down for four weeks. So very little production..low hydro usage but high fricken delivery fees. Seriously how does one continue to provide jobs? · August 18 at 10:00am

Michael Mantha Roslyn Taylor … I’ll be dropping by on Saturday to get an Authorization Form and billing information from you … I take it the “consultant” process didn’t help. Let me have a look at it …see you on Saturday after the Providence Bay Parade I’ll drop in. · August 18 at 10:03am

Greg Young Myles Clayton, Roslyn Taylor, Michael Mantha, Craig Ferguson , I think looking at the whole Hydro 1 issue from a political point of view the main point is that the Liberals have a ” Majority Goverment” which gives them pretty much free rein on getting their bills passed…It is virtually impossible for either of the other 2 parties to make the neccessary changes for improvement with out some liberals voting with them which almost never happens…This is how the Liberals get away with things like the partial privatization of Hydro 1, paying Hydro 1 & OEB executives million dollar + salaries & buying billion dollar+ U.S. energy plants. I was formally involved with the group ” Hydro 1Enough is Enough ” & we sent thousands & thousands of petition signatures to Queens Park reguarding extremely high hydro bills…& it literally did nothing…Why? LIBERAL MAJORITY GOVERNMENT…The Provincial NDP are constantly rising in the Legislature to denounce the privatization of Hydro 1 and all the other aspects of this issue that keep hydro rates in Ont. among the highest in N. America but because of that majority the Liberals can defeat any motions made. We all need to remember this when we go to the polls in 2018…The Liberals have proven they simply do not care about Ontario energy consumers…Many consumers especially small business will never afford the hydro rates if Wynne is allowed to return for another 4 yrs…Everyone needs to make the next election a priority to ensure the liberals are ousted & the hydro issues can be properly addressed. · August 18 at 10:06am

Roslyn Taylor Will be happy to sign! You will have to be here before noon.
Our hours of business are 8-5 M-F and Sat 9-Noon.
Fax it if you can’t make our business hours. 😉 · August 18 at 10:08am

Michael Mantha Greg Young … 👍 · August 18 at 10:21am

Larry Killens Myles Clayton in fairness to Michael Mantha he is doing just that (Advocating for fairness and common sense)…… He is taking it in what I would call the proper “Pecking Order” if you will…. He needs to and is…. throwing the facts at current government. Did you know and I have heard him plead on T.V. that we are looking at 20 jobs in danger if they close down? Simply making false promises to his constituents is a horrible thing to do. We need to come to grips with the fact this bull…t and removing it starts with us…. We need people like you who speak out Myles, lets direct our energy to chaning those at the top. I certianly am working towards that and not only the hydro issue, but in education as well…..Especially in our rural area…… When you think abouit it you need to ask, What is the difference between a crook and the Wynne Government. Wynne does not say “Stick em up” · August 18 at 10:23am

Myles Clayton Greg Young I understand the political procedures at Queens Park. But no sitting government wants to have egg on their face. If there is a loud enough protest by the people and opposition parties, often the sitting government (no matter how big ) will make the necessary changes to quiet these concerns; especially when it’s so close to another election. Remember the old adage the squeaky wheel gets the oil. So, it is time to make a loud noise in the North, it is time to force Queen’s Park to listen to the Northerners. The North should no longer be treated like second class citizens and our elected representatives should stand shoulder to shoulder with us to ensure our demands are heard · August 18 at 10:23am

Larry Killens Agreed and in the small mind of Wynn she has done just what you said she feels is bowing to pressure from people like Mike Michael Mantha. Rebates,and all that stuff.. You can see she is not even coming close to hitting the Mark. I am sure Mike appreciates your speaking out, good or bad, I know I do… ANY CONSTRUCTIVE input is more than welcome.. · August 18 at 10:43am

Michael Mantha Larry Killens … I’m always listening #keepitcoming · August 18 at 10:50am

Greg Young Myles Clayton; Over the last few yrs there has been many very loud protests & thousands & thousands of protest signatures signed & delivered to the legislation by the Provincial NDP in reguards to the hydro issues …There have been many occasions where members of both opposition parties have rose to denounce moves by the Liberals that worsened the hydro crisis…Eventually all that happened was the band-aid 17% reduction which was just a dangling carrot to get liberal votes in the next election…Hydro 1 has already applied to the OEB to raise the rates again ! The ONLY proven way to stop a majority government from having its way is to VOTE them OUT ! Every Ontarian who cares at all about this Province & the Hydro crisis the Liberals have caused needs to do their part at the polls in 2018 to oust a government who cares more about their corporate wealth & profits of companys they buy then the tax payers of their own Province…Hopefully everyone who has to pay these excessive hydro rates will have learned a hard lession that Wynne and the Liberals cannot be trusted to put Ontarian’s interests first and they cannot be allowed to remain in power for another 4 yrs…Absolutley no one can afford that ! · August 18 at 10:50am

Larry Killens Myles Clayton be careful what you write, very careful…. I quote you above, “I UNDERSTAND the political procedures at Queen’s Park” lol… Myles I know your kidding, does anyone? Perhaps, I have miss-read and what you understand is what Mike Mantha is saying….. ” They are not listening!” All parties in opposition, including Mike Mantha are going to have to “dig deep” to find the correct wrench to fix it. He is on it for sure… Keep the pressure up Myles, love it. · August 18 at 11:02am

Myles Clayton Greg Young yes, there has been many protests but not from our politicians. The protests came from the citizens themselves and a bunch of grassroots, Facebook groups. I have dealt with Mr. Mantha’s office and his employees, I got nothing but a bunch of form letters stating,” we understand your concerns and I will let Mr. Mantha know”; and the results…no further contact (a brush off) There are many similar examples you hear of this occurring from others, up and down the Algoma riding.
This way of conducting business doesn’t cut it any longer, people are tired of polished political responses. People want action, they want representatives to call a spade a spade. The people want their representatives to go to the press and state this is BS. Look what happened in the US, Trump right or wrong, gave emotional responses and got the disenfranchised to vote. We are at this point in the North. We are no longer talking about a mere hydro bill or a company’s future. We are talking about Northern Ontario and its survival. How many more of our young and our high paying companies have to leave the North, before our politicians do something? This is Why I joined the Northern Ontario Party. · August 18 at 11:32am

Tommy Lee Michael Mantha, sometimes I do feel for you, and other times not so much. My story, similar to Mr Clayton’s, is that I received no more than a letter from Mr Buck in response to my plea for assistance when the TSSA shut down my gas station and many more across the north, and that was the catalyst as to why I’m politically active now and why I have since joined the Northern Ontario Party, so thank-you. I do understand that as a member of one of the big 3 Toronto based parties, that your hands are tied when it comes to helping your constituents. Don’t worry, I’m not picking on you, it’s the same in all of Northern Ontario’s ridings. Then when something positive actually happens in the North, the MPP in that riding is always quick to attach his/her name to it. Mr Orazietti was the champion of taking credit for anything positive in SSM. Well, finally something real, and good, is happening across the north. The 10% of Ontarian’s living in our 11 (soon to be 13) ridings are fed up with being ignored and treated like a colony. They are demanding a change, and history has proven that the change they are looking for can never come from any party that is focused on the GTA and the rest of Ontario, the other 90%. And that is why so many of us are getting behind the Northern Ontario Party. · August 18 at 2:18pm

Greg Young Myles Clayton; If you remember watching question period over the last several yrs I can’t count the many times Opposition MPP’s rose in the Legislature to appose Liberal policys in regards to Hydro 1 & to propose practical solutions; including our MPP Michael Mantha and to be fair Randy Hillier of The Conservative party..This opposition has been ongoing since the hydro crisis in Ontario started but constantly blocked by the Liberal majority. I wish the NOP & Yourself the very best in future endevors & Provincial elections as generally in my own personal opinion your party [ NOP ] has the best interest of Northern Ontarians at heart other then maybe being alittle weak on social programs policy ; but when it comes to politics I am a ” realist ” & the fact of the matter is that it is going to take a HUGE effort & great campaigne run to defeat the GTA backed Wynne Liberals & the dedication of Ontario voters who are fed up with the trail of corruption & hardship left by The Wynne Government! Knowing the history & policies of The Ontario Conservatives on wanting privatization , severe cuts to the public sector especially in health care & drastic reductions to social programs I believe the only right choice for Ontarians is the ” well rounded ” platform of the Provincial NDP & the only way we are going to get Hydro 1 back into completely public hands & the cost of hydro bills back to a managable level….And that is why I will remain a member of the NDP, both provincially & federally…Again good luck at the polls in 2018…having worked on election campaigns I know the amount of work it takes to make one successful so I have a great deal of respect for anyone who throws their hat in & hits the campaigne trail ! Hopefully change will come about as soon as possible so small business owners like Roslyn Taylor can get some badly needed relief from these huge & excessive hydro costs ! · August 18 at 2:19pm

Jim Uffelmann Welcome to the world of deregulation brought to you by the province of Alberta and copied by your gov’t. It was brought in by our Cons by the way NOT the current party as some would like people to believe. While they brag that it lowers costs. I pay 5.9 a KWH I believe). In reality it works out to nearly $.21 a KWH once the multiple fees and delivery and admin costs are all added up. Sorry wind energy also isn’t the culprit here although again many like to pretend it is. · August 18 at 2:29pm

Laura Wall-Varey Wow Ros, great work getting a conversation going and Michael thank you for actually responding in person. Social media isn’t always the safest place to share opinions. Nice to see it being done so respectfully. · August 19 at 11:03am


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