‘How do you sleep at night?’: Rap video takes aim at Ontario premier and hydro price hikes
Jeremy Renaud released a three-minute video for his song Hydro Bills, on Monday, calling out the premier of Ontario for the province’s soaring hydro rates and her ties to the controversial hikes.
“I grew tired of constantly paying overpriced bills and not having any way to be heard about how unhappy I am,” Renaud said Wednesday.
“I figured there was no time like the present to get it off my mind and use my platform to get it out there.”
Performing under the moniker J Reno, the music video had been viewed nearly 105,000 times by Thursday morning.
Renaud said his hydro bills have been well over $500 some months, which he attributes to the absence of natural gas in his neighbourhood of Little River Acres.
“I guess the logical thing would be to move but my kids are in school here, their friends are here and this is where I grew up,” Renaud explained, who has two sons ages nine and 13.
“I love my neighbourhood and it just sucks that we don’t have any assistance.”
Renaud said he will often use a space heater to avoid using the electric baseboard heaters, but when temperatures plummet he is left without a choice.
“You sit comfortable, while most people here struggle. You’re corrupt,” Renaud raps in the video, wearing a hoodie draped over his head and pointing at the camera.
“You don’t know what it’s like to decide whether to give food for your family or keep on the lights. You’re killing us.”
The 30-year-old rapper said he never expected the video to become this popular and he’s been interviewed by national media and contacted by politicians.
I can’t say I know the ins and outs of Canadian politics, but I do pay attention to the issues that directly affect me and my family
Renaud said he did make a conscious decision to keep the lyrics professional and respectful in an effort to reach more people.
Since the video’s release on Monday, Renaud said he has been accused of being a mouthpiece for the Conservatives.
“It’s absolutely hilarious,” Renaud said.
“I’m not a super political guy. I can’t say I know the ins and outs of Canadian politics, but I do pay attention to the issues that directly affect me and my family. Hydro is the biggest one.”
Wynne told the Ontario Liberal Party’s annual general meeting in November that she was well aware of the “mistake” she had made.
“People have told me that they’ve had to choose between paying the electricity bill and buying food or paying rent,” Wynne said. “It is unacceptable that people in Ontario could be facing that choice. So our government made a mistake.
“It was my mistake. And I’m going to do my best to fix it.”
According to Liberal polls released last year, 94 per cent of Ontario residents were eager for hydro pricing relief. The high electricity prices spawned several protests and were also cited as a factor in the Liberals’ byelection loss.
Renaud said the day the video went viral was “the most crazy, emotional, rollercoaster I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
As the messages and likes were pouring in on Tuesday, Renaud’s grandmother died in hospital.
“It’s been tough but I try to be a positive person,” he said.
“There’s a reason everything happens and right now it feels like she’s pulling some strings for me.”
With files from Postmedia News
A local hip-hop artist has a poignant question for Kathleen Wynne: “How do you sleep at night?”