OTTAWA – Consumers are bearing the brunt of big-money speculation on oil prices and need relief on energy costs more than ever, according to MP, Carol Hughes.

Hughes delivered that message in a statement to the House of Commons today as soaring oil prices and the big tax increase on them from the HST push even more family budgets to brink, especially in Northern Ontario where the prices are higher to begin with.

“For consumers, it is a one way street with a hill that keeps getting steeper, especially in Northern Ontario,” said Hughes. “Every week I hear from more and more people who are stretched to the limit.”

Hughes indicated that it was not just the price of energy that had Northern Ontarians digging deeper in their pockets, it is the way prices tend to go up across the board and the deep reach of the HST that make the problem even worse.

“When energy prices go up, everything else follows. Food, travel and transportation will cost more and the cost of heating your home will go up- again,” said Hughes. “For many of us, reeling from the shock of just how much the HST is cutting into the bottom line this is only salt in the wound.”

Gas pump prices hit $1.30 this past weekend in parts of Northern Ontario. New Democrats have been calling for reduced tax on home heating, a nation-wide regulatory agency to monitor the price of oil and gas, and an ombudsman to protect consumers as measures to balance the high prices faced by consumers.