Another Quebec environmental hypocrisy, is our cheap hydro rates. I would like to sell off Hydro Quebec and allow hydro rates to come up to market. Electricity is cheap in Quebec and encourages waste. We should be environmentally friendly and allow the market to set electricity prices.
The paper reported Finance Minister Raymond Bachand's budget next week will barely raise electricity rates. This is bad policy, even if it's popular policy, since Quebec is desperate for revenue and our rates now are among the world's cheapest. Higher ones would encourage conservation, eventually allowing Quebec to export more power. That would be lucrative and would allow other jurisdictions to phase out coal-burning power plants.
But it's bad policy in a whole other way, as well, one that will have some nasty repercussions once the word gets out: One reason for avoiding a real increase in rates is that that would reduce Quebec's equalization payout.