Gas prices have dropped about 20 cents a litre since the summer, but Energy Minister Greg Rickford is determined to see gas prices in the district drop even further.
"I've let the Competition Bureau do their work," he said Friday in Dryden. "They're about 3-4 weeks in. We're set to have a discussion next week. Magically, the price came down from about $1.39 a litre, $1.29 a litre. Now it's about $1.19 a litre. But you know what guys, that's still not low enough for me."
The minister says has asked the federal Competition Bureau to investigate price fixing by gas retailers in the district. Just before Christmas, the bureau agreed to look into it.
Lowering the price of gas was a central theme in last spring's provincial election, and Rickford as the new minister for energy became frustrated with the lack of response from industry.
The new Tory government at Queen's Park had promised a 10 cent drop in prices, and Progressive Conservatives hoped to assist with price reductions by eliminating cap and trade provisions. Since last summer, in Kenora, the price has actually fallen 20 cents a litre from $1.39 to $1.19 in Kenora -- a 24-cent drop in Dryden where the price is $1.15 -- but it's not enough for the minister.
After all, he sees prices across the provincial border in Manitoba are as low as 93 cents a litre, a difference of 23 cents. Rickford says the neighbouring province doesn't charge HST, which is worth eight per cent.
Otherwise, he says the Kenora District is closer to western provinces, where the oil industry is located, so prices should be lower in the northwest than in southern Ontario.
"It's nonsense, and I intend to get an answer from them," Rickford continued, referring to both the bureau and the gas retailers.
The minister hoped to get an update from investigators at the Competition Bureau next week.
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