Dalton McGuinty’s mind games

When it comes to electricity, premier uses the power of spin by Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun

It would be so much easier if Premier Dalton McGuinty and his government would just be honest and forthright about electricity pricing and renewable energy.  Knowing what they’re talking about would also help.

This struck me while reading a pamphlet the Liberal government recently sent to homeowners.  It informs us on its front cover — accompanied by pictures of wind turbines and a hydro dam — that “Electricity prices are changing” and invites us to “Find out why” inside.

Note the use of the weasel word “changing” to describe electricity prices, as opposed to the honest one — “rising.”

The fact prices are “going up” does make it into small print at the top of the first inside page.

But it’s immediately qualified by arguments prices are rising worldwide, and in Ontario the reasons are the need to upgrade hydro infrastructure and close coal-fired electricity plants.

More weasel words, not because of what is said, but because of what’s omitted.

For example, there’s no mention of McGuinty’s imposition of the HST July 1, which added 8% to electricity bills — not to mention bills for gasoline, heat and hundreds of other goods and services.

However, the pamphlet cites the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit — borrowed money we’ll have to pay back — taking 10% off only electricity bills and only for five years, in the section: “How can I manage costs?”

In fact, this “benefit” was created by McGuinty to try to reduce public anger over the HST, before he has to face voters, Oct. 6.

So, in McGuinty’s Ontario, only government actions lowering electricity prices temporarily are worth mentioning, not actions raising prices permanently — even when the latter prompts the former.

Next I read something which makes me wonder if the Liberals have any idea of what they’re doing on renewable energy.

In answer to the question “Why not coal?” — meaning why has the government decided to close less expensive, coal-fired electricity plants, the pamphlet warns: “Coal plants release greenhouse gases that pollute the air we breathe.”

Here, the weasel words lie in the fact this explanation is so simplistic, it’s misleading.

While greenhouse gases and gases which cause pollution both come out of the same smokestack when burning coal, they are separate issues.

As is not yet the case for greenhouse gases, we have practical technology — scrubbers — to reduce smokestack emissions which cause pollution and smog.

But McGuinty has refused since being elected in 2003 to install scrubbers on coal-fired plants.

The original explanation was that since he had promised in the 2003 campaign to close all coal-fired plants by 2007, it didn’t make economic sense to do so.

Problem is, McGuinty not only missed that deadline, but now says he won’t finish the job until 2014.

Despite this, his government’s pamphlet, after confusing greenhouse gases with air pollution, warns that: “According to a 2005 study prepared for the government, the health-related damages of coal could top $3 billion a year.”

If so, why did McGuinty decide to let this go on until (at least) 2014, instead of acting immediately?

What actually happened was McGuinty in 2003 made an unrealistic pledge to shut down all coal-fired plants by 2007, replacing them with renewable energy — mainly wind.

In fairness, Ontario has reduced its coal-fired emissions since 2007, but largely because the 2008 global recession, which hit Ontario’s already struggling manufacturing sector, reduced electricity demand.

The problem with wind power is that at present it isn’t viable without massive subsidies from electricity consumers, another reason for rising prices.

Plus, wind power can’t produce energy on demand.

Those wind turbines on the front of the government’s pamphlet will have to be backed up by other forms of energy — typically natural gas.

Natural gas, while cleaner than coal, is also a fossil fuel and emits greenhouse gases and pollution.

Oddly, that isn’t in the pamphlet, either.

12 thoughts on “Dalton McGuinty’s mind games

  1. Lawrence Solomon gives us a glimpse into Ontario’s future in the National Post:

    “Going with wind means going without power

    Electricity consumers in the UK will need to get used to flicking the switch and finding the power unavailable, according to Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the country’s grid operator.”

    http://www.nationalpost.com/m/blogs/full-comment/blog.html?b=fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/03/05/lawrence-solomon-uk-must-learn-to-live-without-electricity-to-combat-global-warming

  2. Dear Mr. Goldstein,

    Thank you for your astute observations and for making them public. One would think that most people even those in urban communities have read enough about the spin on so called green energy. Dalton McGuinty has no alternative now but to try and save face from the boondoggle he and his former pal Mr. Smitherman have created.

    How can any of the families whose lives they have destroyed ever forgive “the enemy within” Even if industrial wind plants could reduce emissions which has proved to be false in Europe and even if they could get us off the use of fossil fuels, which has been proven to be a lie as well, because wind turbines need to be paired with gas or coal that have to run steady for when the wind isn’t blowing ie., 75% -80% of the time. Even if they could produce employment, which turns out is also a big lie as it has been widely reported that for every 1 so called green job 2.2 to 3.7 jobs are lost in the private sector.

    It would still be wrong to force the industrialization of rural Ontario. Rural Ontario is more densely populated than most people are aware of. Many people bought land and built retirement homes in rural Ontario. They hired locals to build them, roof them, plumb them and landscape them. They planned on leaving these homes to their children. Who could have ever imagined in their wildest dreams that their own government would betray them and fall for the slick tactics of the wind industry that caused economic disaster in Europe and paid lobbyist that don’t know science from shineola!

    Who could have imagined that their own neighbours and town councils would sell them out for a system that would cause such an economic disaster for the whole Province. They all wanted to appear Green, they wanted the pittance of income but through away the populations that would support their towns.

    Have any of the towns that have embraced industrial wind turbines grown? Have they prospered? Have you been to Shelburne lately? Is anyone counting the families that have abandoned their homes in small towns all over rural Ontario?

    There is rising angst across Ontario and the Provincial Elections on October 6th will reverse this destructive trend but who will pay for the damage? Who will hall all the big white elephants away?

  3. Since wind can never “replace” any fossil fueled generation, the switch is not from coal to wind, but from coal to gas. According to Randall Denley writing in the Ottawa Citizen, backup gas plants while idling, produce more CO2 gas then coal in a similar capacity. If this is so, a switch to wind/gas can result in very little, if any net reduction in CO2 emissions. The CO2 coming from production of steel and concrete, and the construction of the towers must also be considered in the ledger. The diesel and gasoline used by commercial, residential, and farm generators, essential for the inevitable blackouts, would also have to be accounted for.

    If even a fraction of investment in wind turbines had gone into scrubbers for the coal plants, and construction of the most efficient gas plants, surely Ontario taxpayers would be further ahead. Of course this would not square with the coal=bad, wind=good ideology of McGuinty, nor rescue him from his foolish election promise.

  4. Wind turbine industry + Greenpeace = doom for Ontarians! Or is it the other way around?

  5. Wind Industry/Politician’s objective several years ago was “get them in fast” before the backlash from ordinary citizens becomes a reality. “Once in, they won’t be able to do anything about them and we will have ourselves a ‘money maker’ regardless of the backlash that will eventually come”……….

    Now this may be just conjecture but this conversation or something similiar probably took place between McGuinty and CANWEA and other Wind Associations prior to the Green Energy Invasion in our Province!

    Just like the Gold Rush days and Oil Rush days of the past, the Wind Rush uses the same tactics to overpower, overrun and destroy private lands and homes of ordinary honest people.

    Sad testimony in this 21st century when the mistakes of the past are repeated in the present and will ruin the Future for our children and their children…..Shame on you “Greed Merchants”!…prepare for the “whirlwind” and backlash from US, the People who you have tried to ruin!

  6. Tides Foundation/Tides Canada as of Oct.15,2010 has listed 36 organisations listed for grants. Among them are:
    Environmental Defence,canada
    Ducks Unlimited,Canada
    GREENPEACE.Canada
    World Wildlife (WWF), Canada
    Sierra Club,Canada
    Equiterre, Co-founded Montreal 1993 by Steven Guilbeault, joined GREENPEACE 1997 where he was a member of the Canadian delegation and Quebec spokesperson until June 8,2007.
    ForestEthics, co-founder Tzeporah Berman,GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL

    PowerUp Canada was initiated by Ivey Foundation,Tides Foundation,Equiterre ForestEthics,Environmental Defence and Pembina Institute.

    PowerUP co-founder,Tzephora Berman,GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL

    Sources: Wikipedia and http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/015115.html, Oct.15,2010

  7. Barbara,

    With what you said above, how is DU Canada involved in this “Green” Scam? As I understand it, DU Canada has asked for a moratorium and have shown concern for the environment regarding turbines.

    Can you clarify, I’m confused.

  8. Andrew,
    Have not looked at Ducks Unlimited yet for any connections to other green groups. Want ot give it a try?

  9. SUSTAINABILITY NETWORK
    Board:
    1.Seanna Irvine
    2.Wanda Prochazka
    3.Marlo Raynolds Pembina Institute & PowerUp Ontario
    4.Pat Letizia
    5.Janet Sumner,has worked for Pollution Probe,GREENPEACE,Green$aver,It’s Not Garbage Colition and Pembina Institute
    6.James Sullivan,currently serves on BOARD OF GREENPEACE,Canada
    7.David Love,has been raising money for nearly 40 years including 20 years for World Wildlife,Canada. Has also raised money for GREENPEACE and other organisations.
    8.Mary MCGrath,adviser to Laidlaw Foundation. Bruce Lourie developed and has managed Laidlaw Foundation.
    9.Bob Mann

    http://www.sustainabilitynetwork.ca/board.html

  10. Even though putting scrubbers would have been the cheapest solution the Atikokan’s coal fired generating station is going through more costly changes to burn less efficient wood pellets. The liberal’s are making sure scrubbers are not a future option. Damming up spawning walleye habitat and heating the water caused by building and operating the Atikokan GS has been for nothing.

    Building the IWTs across our rural landscape has a larger foot print and produces less useful power. Home improvement and building new homes in the rural areas will become too risky as any IWT development can wipe out the equity of that property. Smart people know building IWTs is a total waste to the environment and poor economics for the province so what does that say about our government?

  11. They`re Brain-Dead, TREASONOUS, Corrupt, Self-Centred,
    Bas–rds from Hell ???

  12. History of Summerhill: and how it grew to what it is today:

    1993 Began when Bruce Lourie & Peter Love established Lourie& Love Inc. as toronto based environmental consulting organisation.
    1994-1999 -Creation and management of the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance and Sustainability Network
    2000-Ian Morton creates Clean Air Foundation
    2001-Pollution Probe transfers Swithch Oil program to Clean Air Foundation
    2007- Summerhill begins efforts to TRANSFORM U.S. market with formation of Progress Energy Initative.

    Summerhill now has U.S. office.

    http://www.summerhillgroup.ca/eng/our-history.php

    Peter Love,Chief Energy Conservation Officer at Ontario Power Authority,co-founder/Principal at Summerhill Group. Serves on Greening Greater Toronto Task Force

    Summerhill Foundation Board of Directors:
    Mary Bowyer
    Bruce Lourie, Pres.Ivey Foundation
    Elin Lawerence
    Peter Birkness
    Michael Bruce

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