Queen’s Park’s energy greenwashing: Woodcock

by Connie Woodcock, Toronto Sun

There was a pale green and grey brochure from the Ontario government in my mail last week.  Its low key message: “Electricity prices are changing. Find out why.”

Wow, there’s a surprise. Who knew? I guess they think I might not have noticed yet that my bill is nearly double what it was three years ago.

Inside, it burbles on ungrammatically about Ontario electricity prices going up “like in a lot of places around the world,” the need to build new infrastructure, shut down coal generating plants and find cleaner sources of electricity.

Then it tells us that although prices will be going up more than 7% a year for the next few years, the government wants to “help manage costs.” Right, that’s the 10% they’re knocking off bills, the tax credit some seniors may receive and an energy credit available only to Northern Ontario residents.

I wonder how much this self-congratulatory little publication cost to tell us what we already know: That we’re choking on our energy bills and it will only get worse.

Such hypocrisy. Yes, electricity rates are going up in many places — but nowhere higher than in Ontario, studies have shown.

There’s another example of the province’s hypocrisy surrounding electricity that’s been bothering me for weeks.

It started with the mid-January release of Ontario’s air quality report for 2009 which showed our air is getting cleaner. In fact, three major pollutants — nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide — were down between 40 and 64% since the turn of the century. There were only three smog advisories in 2009. Last year’s stats aren’t out yet but 2010 didn’t have many smog days either.

Wouldn’t you know it, the government quickly patted itself on the back for the good numbers. It’s all because of the province’s clean air efforts, including shutting down those evil coal-fired generating plants, according to Ontario Environment Minister John Wilkinson.

“We made that important decision that it was more important to have cleaner air even if clean air costs a bit more because it’s better for all of us and better for our children.”

La la la. Yet another tune from the green energy hymn book.

And everyone from the media to the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, an anti-coal lobby group, let him get away with that — not once but over and over as the report was publicized.

Kudos go out to the NDP’s Peter Kormos for at least pointing out it’s more likely the recession, which shut down factories all over Southern Ontario, that really cut the pollutants. But even he was ignoring the obvious, as we’ll see.

The province’s claim was repeated last week when the Living City Report Card, prepared by the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, was released. The report credited the coal plants’ closures with the huge reductions in carbon emissions and sulphur in the city since 2005.

Still, the obvious answer was ignored even though it was splashed all over the biggest U.S. newspapers at roughly the same time as the environment minister was claiming bragging rights.

The U.S. energy department reported on Jan. 14 that the recession has led to massive drops in American greenhouse gases since 2005. And at the same time a utilities consortium said when demand dropped, the utilities cut back production from their most inefficient plants — the old, heavily polluting coal fired stations — and produced more energy from cleaner gas-fired plants.

Since Ontario gets at least 50% of its pollution from the U.S., it seems likely that high American unemployment — not Ontario’s clean energy policies — is the biggest reason our pollution is dropping.

But of course, you’ll never hear that from Queen’s Park.


14 thoughts on “Queen’s Park’s energy greenwashing: Woodcock

  1. I wonder how many takes it took to get this video?
    Is it just me or did anyone else get the impression that he was trying very hard not to burst out in laughter.
    It’s hard to suppress the laughter when your trying to keep a straight face duping the masses…..

  2. Every excuse will be made to cover up the fact that Ontario is in the process of purchasing costly & obsolete machinery/wind turbines to produce electricity in Ontario. The present government has been sold a “bill of goods” and they know this.

    These “horse & buggy” wind machines only opperate at best at ~30% of nameplate capacity. The electricity produced is intermittent,unreliable and non-dispatchable.

    In essence, the present government is going to make Ontarians pay for obsolete very high cost equipment which will in a very short time put many Ontarians in energy poverty as well as damaging the health of many rural Ontarians.

  3. snowball, that video is from 2006; re-released by the premier’s office in 2010.
    Prices have gone up over 50% since he filmed it. I believe him – 11 cents/kWh is about the real cost and the other 6 cents/kWh I pay is one real cost of having a bad Premier.

  4. I am thinking of sending this garbage little booklet back to my
    Member of Parliament. This propaganda is truly insulting to all
    Ontarians. Do they think we are that stupid and naive?
    And to think it was my tax dollars that paid for it.
    (My representative is Bill Murdock, Progressive Conservative)
    I wonder if he saw red when he opened his hydro bill and read it too.
    It is time for a change in the government of Ontario. I hope it is not
    to late to reverse the damage McQuinty has done.

  5. A good article by John O’Toole MPP. A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there. These people are draining us dry.

    “Ontario consumers were also alarmed to learn that a C.D. Howe Report found the McGuinty government has subsidized power exports to the tune of $1 billion since 2006. This allows energy traders to sell provincially-generated power to other jurisdictions for less than what Ontario families pay.”

    “It’s time for the McGuinty government to come clean on why Ontario families continue to be charged $1 billion per year, plus HST, for a debt that is paid.”


  6. In the video McGuinty claims the Debt Retirement Charge is necessary to pay off the debt caused by past governments when in fact it seems his government is treating the DRC as a source of free money. If a bank did that to a costumer it would be considered illegal.

  7. Standing Ontario Debt when McGunity became premier 138 billion 2002
    Standing Ontario Debt when McGunity becomes ex-premier over 212 billion 2011

    But to the topic on hand,,, The hydro debt is managed by the Ontario (L) government, and they charge the interest on said loan and count it as revenue to the treasury. Its not a bank loan, it is a debt held by the Ontario government. Are we in effect paying an illegal tax to the (L) government because it never went through the legislature?

  8. After all the money we pay in taxes you’d think we wouldn’t have to borrow a dime. Am I missing something here?

  9. Anyone else get reminiscences of Kindergarten after listening to this man speak?

  10. Try and get a loan today anywhere without giving up a kidney let alone your first born for collateral, yet this pasty faced McGuinty can swing in and out of their offices with handfuls (billions) of OUR dollars without even an explanation!

    Now if the people would just get off their sofa’s and kick this Government into the streets!………….oh, and any other Government who occupies the Pink Building from now on!..Hudak, Layton, I don’t care………….they should all be held criminally responsible for actions like McGuinty is doing now with OUR Province!!!!!

  11. Even more impressive was the insert I received with my hydro one bill. Even with 500 foot turbines proposed for the fields next to our homes, we get to pay almost double the delivery charge of the urban residential areas. But of course, we will have upgrades with our new hydro delivery, such as stray voltage, harmonic distortion, nightlights, radio interference and perhaps, if we are lucky……television interference.

    Thanks McGuinty.

  12. Television interference? Personally, I’d be more concerned about how I’d start a new life for myself and family…from scratch…equity challenged…in a place in rural Ontario where you don’t have to fret about where the next project is going up. But that’s just me.

  13. “…kick this Government into the streets…”

    Last I checked, the only “right” we’ve ever had is to vote them in.

    “…democracy is the worst form of government except all the
    others that have been tried.”
    – Sir Winston Churchill

  14. Believe me Tom, that is the major concern. The comment was simply pointing out the unfairness in the delivery charges when the lines will run right past our homes…..get sick, loss everything and then get charged a premium for delivery. Just another kick in the head.

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