McGuinty to launch $1 million blitz to explain soaring energy costs

Robert Benzie, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief, Toronto Star

OTTAWA—Premier Dalton McGuinty is hitting Ontarians where they live to explain rising energy prices and what’s being done to help.

Queen’s Park is distributing a six-page pamphlet this week to every household in Ontario as part of a public-relations blitz to tout the new 10 per cent discount on electricity.  The Star obtained an advance copy of the leaflet, which is costing about $1 million to mail out.

“What we’re trying to convey is why we’re doing this,” McGuinty said late Saturday after a 40-minute speech to 300 Liberals at the party’s pre-election policy conference here.

“It is a major undertaking, but we’ve come a long way since the days of 2003 and 2004 when it was touch and go with respect to our capacity to meet electricity demand in Ontario,” the premier said.

While generation is more plentiful and less polluting, electricity bills have skyrocketed and are expected to increase an additional 46 per cent over the next five years.

“We’re now in a position where we’ve got a reliable supply and we’re doing it in a really smart way. We’re doing it in a way that creates thousands of new jobs,” said McGuinty, referring to the Green Energy Act that subsidizes clean wind and solar generators with hopes of creating 50,000 new jobs over three years.

“It’s cleaning up our air so I just want to give Ontarians a sense of why we’re doing this and what we’ve been able to achieve together,” he said.

But with an election looming Oct. 6 and Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath appealing to voter concerns on pocketbook issues, McGuinty launched a 10 per cent hydro rate discount as of Jan. 1.

Known as the Clean Energy Benefit, the measure will cost the treasury, already struggling with an $18.7 billion budget deficit, more than $1 billion a year.

“It’s going to convey to Ontarians that we’re sensitive to their household finances and that we’re trying to help,” insisted the premier.

The six-page brochure, entitled “Electricity prices are changing. Find out why,” is ostensibly a non-partisan document that was approved for release by Auditor General Jim McCarter.

Still, it echoes the themes in the PowerPoint presentation McGuinty has been making across the province in recent weeks.

“Like in a lot of places around the world, electricity prices in Ontario are going up. Why? Ontario is building the infrastructure we need to make sure the lights stay on, now and in the future,” the document states.

It goes on to boast how eight coal-fired generation plants have been closed and the last will be mothballed in 2014.

As well, the leaflet heralds how $9 billion in private-sector investment has been committed in the past year for renewable energy projects and that Ontario has more than 700 wind turbines — up from 10 when the Liberals were elected in 2003.

(The controversial $7 billion deal with Samsung accounts for the lion’s share of that, although the South Korean company is not mentioned by name.)

But this shift has come at a price because green energy is heavily subsidized with generators being paid up to 80 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity that costs about 4 cents from nuclear plants.

Hence the 10 per cent discount.

“The average household will see savings of about $150 this year. The credit will be applied directly to your electricity bill for the next five years,” the pamphlet states.

Horwath, for her part, said Sunday that the Liberals’ moves are cold comfort for worried Ontario families.

“I don’t know how they neutralize this (as an election issue),” said the NDP leader, pointing out that the 13 per cent harmonized sales tax on energy bills is walloping consumers.

“Everywhere I go, I am hearing from families about the cost of household bills,” said Horwath, whose party is promising to scrap the 8 per cent provincial portion of the HST from energy costs and raise corporate taxes to foot the tab.

Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton), whose party has yet to disclose its plans for tax relief, said McGuinty is out of touch with families.

“The reality is that hydro bills and the HST have become a really big burden on the family budget. We’re hearing it every day,” said MacLeod.

“It’s a little too late for them to be giving credits or the like. Right now, families realize they’re in a very dire strait in paying many of their bills and I don’t think the hydro scheme they’ve put in place is at all helping Ontario families.”

18 thoughts on “McGuinty to launch $1 million blitz to explain soaring energy costs

  1. and how much is McGuinty going to tax us to pay for this million dollar blitz?
    The liberals sure know how to spend money don’t they, money they don’t have unless they keep raising our taxes. They are the worst party to ever.

  2. “What we’re trying to convey is why
    we are doing this.”

    You are doing this because you have
    been conned by the wind industry and
    you are now attempting to rationalize
    your blatant stupidity.

  3. Here’s the thing we know its bad news.It’s pretty much an attempt in an election year o try to deflect issues.BUT ,it is the lack of info from the PC’s or NDP’s that pretty well shows they don’t have a plan either .No political party wants to be upfront to take on the other .So,sad for all those living in Ontario!. So in the end its another media blitz at the tax payers expense.

  4. You got that right ep! They are absolutely the worst , most
    blatantly corrupt, lying,theifing,bas^^^ds,in Ont. history! (That
    I`m aware of ). Lets get going on Quixotes plan#2. Recall
    Referendum Legislation for Oct.6!!Where do we start?Times a

  5. Opposition party’s don’t have the balls to
    concede that the ‘green energy program’
    is a costly mistake. It appears from their
    rhetoric that if they drop the prov. portion
    of the HST, all will be foregiven.

  6. “What we’re trying to convey is why we’re doing this,” McGuinty said late Saturday…

    That’s a rather weak statement. Sounds like he’s not so sure himself (of the benefits or why they did it).

  7. All the opposition has to do is dust off the power plan that existed before Dalton’s merry band of thieves came to power. Unfortunately, they are unlikely collectively intelligent enough to figure this out.

    Also unfortunately, both they and the masses are not collectively intelligent enough to figure out that shuttering coal plants and “green energy” have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other!

    Thus, we have and absolute IDIOT leading and absolutely CORRUPT government that is borrowing OUR MONEY to tell us that they are borrowing more of OUR MONEY to pay us so we can spend more of OUR MONEY paying his corrupt green energy snake oils salesmen! All the while, both the economy and the environment suffer egregiously!

    Again unfortunately, neither the opposition nor the masses are collectively intelligent enough to figure this out!

    So even if we turf this mendacious moron out office next election, his replacement will in all likelihood, be another mendacious moron!

    We may as well put our heads between our legs so we can kiss our asses goodbye!

    We’re screwed!


  8. “What we’re trying to convey is why we’re doing this,”
    Why would a Premier try to remain ignorant to those suffering from Industrial Wind Turbines?

  9. Here is what you need to convey to the public! How much are the utility rates going to cost to fund these 50,000 new jobs? You will ALL be Broke-By-Wind in the name of green energy and jobs. Every expense your county spends and every expense the utility company spends is passed on to the consumer and/or tax payer.
    The spending has to stop. They keep digging a bigger hole. They’re trying to cover up their mistakes/dumb ideas.

  10. Broke-By-Wind I just read your post. I believe you are right!
    Take action to stop the spending. Stop the green energy non-sense and sick turbines.

  11. Here we go again. Another misinformation blitz to confuse us.
    Must I really appreciate the $2.82 McGuinty donated to defray the cost of my month’s Hydro bill for $172.10 to keep my pipes from freezing while no one was living in our little 800 sq. ft. farmhouse?

  12. We should take alook at the history of the wind turbine debacle in North America.

    Both the Canadian and U.S. governments along with the various states and provinces were persuaded that global warming was a real and present danger and that CO2 levels had to be reduced PDQ as it was CO2 that was causing global warming.

    There was no new technology to solve this imediate problem. The only technology available that was said to be able to quickly reduce CO2 levels were wind turbines.
    If enough wind turbines could be quickly installed we would all be saved from certain destruction.

    The problem is that wind turbines used to produce electricity are obsolete technology which could never be able to reduce CO2 levels on planet earth.

    But this dosen’t matter as this policy makes it look like something is being done to save us all and it dosen’t matter how expensive they are nor does it matter that the turbines only produce intermittent,unreliable,non-dispatchable electricity.

    Result is that lots of elected officials have backed themselves into a corner and now they don’t know how to get out of the situation they find themselves in.

    So you can expected elected officials to try anything to get out of the fix they are in.

  13. Damn, I cashed my “Clean Energy Benefit” cheque.
    Hope there was no gag order in the fine print, like:
    ‘You can’t say anything bad about how McQuinty is
    pushing the green energy scam’. Think I will dig
    that out the cheque attachment and double check.

  14. “Like in a lot of places around the world, electricity prices in Ontario are going up. Why? Ontario is building the infrastructure we need to make sure the lights stay on, now and in the future,”
    If you burn that pamphlet you get some light. Is that part of the government plan? Building industrial wind turbines has little to do with keeping lights on or closing coal plants though IWT developments can be linked to increased electricity prices. McGuinty is trying to give the impression prices are going up in a lot places. So why are mining industries bothering to look for cheaper electricity elsewhere to process Ontario’s ore?

  15. “Wind stalled in Ontario” Daily Bayonet,

    “If anyone is still in doubt-the price increase is the effect of poor energy planning by the provincial government and reflects what happens when green ideology is promoted over common sense and meeting a simple demand-affordable,reliable energy”


  16. Most politicans don’t understand that they can NOT sell energy poverty to the electorate and expect to win an election.

  17. Speaking of McGuinty. It is time we give him the honour that he deserves. I propose that we name that spinny thing on top of wind towers after McGuinty (And coincidentally honour Archimedes at the same time.)

    I vote we name that propeller-like thing at the top of Industrial Wind Turbines a “McGuinty Screw”. It could have several connotations — all of them accurate I believe. As many of you scientific types know a screw is a very efficient form of the lever and can be used in water pumps, motive devices for ships, and planes (not to mention trains)…. and is really the pre-cursor to the turbine.

    I believe that it is an appropriate monniker as the devices are very efficient at pumping our cash into the wrong hands — so calling it the McGuinty Screw will of course bring all the proper connotations together with but one phrase.

    Now of course I suggest a party-dance-protest to celebrate this new name for our dear friend(s) (person and turbine beanies)…. at which we will perfect a new dance called … YOU Guessed It! The “McGuinty Screw”.

    I envisage it performed as follows….

    Both partners revolve around a common axis flailing their arms round and round while making a loud HUMMING and SWISHING noise…

    The instant that your partner breaks their attention you immediately grab their wallet and take all their money — switch partners and do it again…

    Whoever has all the money at the end of the night will be judged the best dancer and a “Good Businessman” — but a better Politician.

    What say you…? Up for the dance?

    This Friday night — Wasaga Beach….

    Oh yeah…

    We needed a reference…

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