Come Clean’s messy jobs reality

by Terence Corcoran, Financial Post

The job-killing consequences of massive government spending and regulation to force green energy development have yet to sink in with voters. But they might soon, which is why a cabal of environmental activists and subsidy-seeking industries have formed a new propaganda organization in Ontario called “Come Clean”.

What the green energy players in Come Clean want to squelch is the fact that their schemes will create few new jobs at exorbitant cost and in the process kill a lot more jobs. A hint of the employment havoc to come was noted in this space last week after the province announced it had approved 872 megawatts of new solar and wind projects, thereby triggering $3-billion in investment and 7,000 jobs.

But a back-of-the-envelope calculation by energy consultant Bruce Sharp came up with different and messier statistics. Over 20 years the projects will require somewhere between $4.1-billion and $5.6-billion in subsidies from Ontario electricity ratepayers. For each man-year of employment (about 27,000 over the period), the subsidy works out to between $152,000 and $207,000. That’s for each job each year.

Those numbers may be rough, but they are certainly within reason. Responding to criticism that his numbers were “wild guesses,” Mr. Sharp said: “Until I see something that looks like it credibly outlines how jobs are not being destroyed and that the green jobs being created are real and enduring, I will remain quite skeptical.”

The high cost per green job is an indicator of how much money will be taken out of the economy to finance uneconomic wind and solar power. As that money is sucked out of the pockets of ratepayers, and the accompanying high electricity costs drive away industrial investment, the job losses are all but guaranteed to exceed the green job gains. A recent economic report by Verso Economics in Scotland found that “for every job created in the U.K. in renewable energy, 3.7 jobs are lost.” New job loss risks are among the reasons Spanish and other European ­governments have been curtailing their green energy plans.

That’s what Come Clean is trying to neutralize. They might succeed. The lead player in Come Clean appears to be Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence and ubiquitous master of media and political manipulation. Mr. Smith — who refers to himself as “Dr. Rick Smith” — has waged so many phony environmental campaigns we’ve lost track, although one of his greatest triumphs is to have worked himself so deep into Health Canada’s war on safe chemicals that the department recently issued a news release citing Mr. Smith’s approval of Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq’s plan to ban phthalates in children’s toys and care products—even though there is no evidence of risk. When you can get a Conservative government to ban a safe product, you deserve credit for something.

In Come Clean, our man is aligned with the Sierra Club, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (presumably a counterforce to the Canadian Association of Physicians Against the Environment) and the Sustainable Energy Association of Ontario, an industry lobby group headed by Kristopher Stevens, another master of the arts of backroom political manoeuvring in search of billion-dollar subsidies.

Come Clean’s objective, said Mr. Smith in a Monday news release, is to “hit back at the confusing environmental rhetoric coming from Ontario’s elected politicians.” The “major confusion,” said the release, is Ontario’s renewable energy policy.

When it comes to confusing environmental rhetoric, however, it’s hard to beat the words of Mr. Smith’s associate, Mr. Stevens. “Ontarians deserve to know whether the jobs that clean energy creates … will vanish,” he said. “If elected officials want fewer new jobs and dirty coal, they should come clean and say so.”

The confusion here is deep and deliberate, and based on a false alternative. The option is not between dirty coal and clean energy. It’s between good policy and real job creation and investment. Without massive subsidies, there might be fewer jobs in solar power and fewer investment windfalls for promoters and speculators. But economic logic suggests Ontario would have more jobs and investment without the green energy subsidies.

It’s up to Come Clean to come clean on green jobs.

6 thoughts on “Come Clean’s messy jobs reality

  1. You can fool some of the people some of the time.

    BUT! When governments ignore all the people and treat them like fools, governments FALL!

    Rick Smith and Kristopher Stevens have been well exposed for the frauds that they are. Today, it is only governments that are the fools!

    Beware! People around the world are rioting and dying in the streets for democracy. Yes, it CAN happen here to. Thru our own complacency, we allowed our own democracy to slip from our grasp decades ago.

    The result gave us The Green Energy Act and similar legislation from all levels of government of all political stripes.

    Now, the people are growing “restless”.

    Troubled times ahead.

    There may be blood!


  2. Public exposure of these groups and pressure on politicians to defund their organizations is essential to rebuilding Ontario.

  3. Only when Joe Blow and his family are starving, will we hear their cries for the heads of Rick Smith, Kristopher Stevens, John Bennett, Suzuki, Lizzie Mao, Paul Watson, and their CBC comrades – at the rate things are going, this may be sooner than later.

  4. For an eco-lunatic the definition of
    a ‘wet dream’ is one in which the
    human species ceases to exist, thus
    saving mother earth. Smith & Stevens
    are a couple of ‘human parasites’ and
    by their own definition should be the first
    to go.

  5. The Ontario green activists are now encouraging Ontario political party leaders to continue making the very valuable Ontario “wind assets” available to wind developers at very cheap prices.

    Thus cheating Ontarians out of money they have coming to them from the sale of these assets!

  6. Oh! It’s “OFF PEAK HOURS” I can take a Bath. Where does this come from??? They definitely are not
    developing the Planet for the Common folk, but rather the “Elite” folk. But I still received only one rate
    on my Hydro bill.
    Is there a bill coming also for breathing AIR??? Hope not, but there are Concentration Camps ready to go…..wonder what that’s all about??

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