Smitherman plugs back in to green-energy debate

How bad can we screw rural Ontario?

by Adam Radwanski, Globe and Mail
There have been more than 2,900 public submissions to the Ontario government’s two-year review of its controversial green-energy strategy. But one of them, in particular, is sure to cause a buzz. George Smitherman is the father of the Green Energy Act. As deputy premier and energy minister, he was a polarizing figure, even among fellow Liberals, for the take-no-prisoners (and occasionally reckless) way in which he pushed his policies through. So one might have expected that, when he waded back into provincial politics for the first time since his failed run for mayor of Toronto, he would unequivocally defend the policies that define his time at Queen’s Park. Read article

18 thoughts on “Smitherman plugs back in to green-energy debate

  1. Well, whaddya know !!! One of the posse from the Gang Green is admitting they’re wrong??? Only the start of things to come, for sure !!!

    • Did you not notice this?????:

      A portion of the complaints in his submission – the ones in which he assesses that green-energy projects aren’t getting out the door fast enough – are vintage George Smitherman. He laments his failure to “anticipate the barriers presented by the government’s own regulatory structures.” And he takes particular aim at the transmission utility Hydro One, which he said in the interview “has been exposed as too independent.”

      He does not seem that repentant…

      I would never use the word “dummy” though some might. What I will say is that I am not interested in the opinion of someone who could not get past high school. At least not when dealing with these highly technical matters related to energy and power transmission that are cause for discussion and debate and difference of opinion among qualified engineers and scientists. The ignorance of the aforementioned person got Ontario into this mess…. His “sage” advice will do nothing to alleviate the problems. Leave him in the dustbin of history.

      • This why he was chosen to accomplish putting over the Green Energy Act. Someone who had no training/education to know whether or not this was the right energy policy.

      • “he proposes a minimum 10 per cent local ownership requirement” If only the locals owned part of an IWT project then all the problems created by IWTs would go away. As if local part ownership would cause the health and safety problems that IWTs create disappear.

  2. He was the patsy the eco-nuts and renewable energy developers used to put over their “green” energy schemes in Ontario.
    Hydo One independent? Perhaps he should take a look at the Hydo One Board of Directors?

    • Smitherman was involved in the passage of the Green Energy Act at least since near the end of June,2008. He was the newly minted MOE who was dispatched to Kingston and attended the meeting that launched the plans for Green energy Act the last few days of June,2008.
      How much did he know at that time about running Onario’s power system? Then he became well infuenced by the cabal that wanted renewable energy projects in Ontario.

  3. Introducing Brilliance!
    Ontario Liberal’s shining star – for the world to see.
    Encore! Encore!

    [excerpt] “The reason we built in the two-year review is that you know when you’re doing something that big, unintended consequences are real,” Mr. Smitherman said in an interview last week. “Some of what’s gone down is exactly what we predicted was possible, and some of what’s gone down I never predicted, in terms of how challenging it’s been.”

    p.s. who cares!

  4. Ha. Hydro One’s fault! Its the Liberals own mess that they’ll have to sit in….or share with the NDP, or anyone else who wants to follow the naked emperor.

  5. Thanks for weighing in, Mr. Smitherman, but you’re a couple years too late. And you’re still seeing the GEA from the Liberal party original plan viewpoint. It seems you haven’t gotten the message that rural Ontario is sending to the Liberals. You’ve seen the last election results. I don’t see any admission that there could be health affects from wind farms. I don’t see any awareness that a truely independant, scientific study, analysis of health issues and recommendations be undertaken, especially in the category of infrasound. You are a long way from recognizing that an out-and-out moritorium is required, except where setbacks are somewhere near 2 or 2.5 Km. Please don’t backpeddle half a step, throw a wooden nickel into the ring, and expect us to jump at it. Rural Ontarians aren’t that ignorant or gullible. But it is nice to know that you are watching our pulse on Ontario Wind Resistance, and reading all those e-mails from disillusioned voters.

    Don’t backpeddle this half step, go all the way back to the drawing board for a fresh start. Yes, local municipalities need their power restored–all municipalities, not just some. The Chief Medical Officer of Health needs a reality check–no make that a jolt. The Ministry of the Environment needs the handcuffs taken off, and let them get back to doing what they are there for–protection of the environment. Same with Natural Resources branch. Start doing some damage control with the big wind companies, and the partnerships that were formed. Here’s why. Collectively, there is a lot more knowledge and enertia in the tens of thousands of rural Ontarians, than you have in the Liberal party, and they’re a whole lot more worldly than you’ve given them credit for. I’ve listened to local farmers, and some of their non-farming neighbours, who are asking very legitimage questions that you’ve never anticipated, and have no answers for. Go back and ask some of the land holders who signed contracts for turbine development, if they feel they were dealt with in an up-front, honest way. If they feel they were screwed over, why would they ever trust big wind, and the Liberals, again. Better do some damage control with them too. Start with honesty. That includes admissions of some blunders, and possible renegotiation of contracts. Want a good place to start? Reign in that C.A.W. turbine project!

    Go back to the drawing board. Review what you have done right, what you have done wrong, and begin picking up the pieces, reassessing the green energy concept, redefine a new green energy direction. I didn’t say GEA, I said “direction”. Scrap the existing GEA. And for heaven’s sake, slow down the green energy program to accommodate more truth in public education, time to study negative effects, allow for adjustment to change, evaluation of success, and opportunity to alter direction for the common good. Go back to the drawing board, and change that condescending, paternalistic, contemptuous attitude you have shown toward all Ontarians. It’s certainly not sitting well with us rural residents. Start with Frederika Rotter referring to the appeal of a new wind farm project in Brooke-Alvinston township as “abusive” and “laughable”.

    I don’t have a good feeling in the pit of my stomach for the future economic burden the green energy program has thrust upon us. I don’t know the true dollar value. But I do know that my hydro bills are rising steadily. TOU smartmeters may help smooth out demand over peak times, but my financial resources are being channeled into energy costs. You have but one ultimate resource in the province, and that is us, the people–not the big wind people, not big business. They can do a disappearing act very quickly. We’re here to stay. How resilient do you feel our economy really is? If the economy is like a car, taxes are brakes. And you’ve just engaged the handbrake with the HST, including HST on energy.

    I take issue with several things in The Globe And Mail article by Adam Radwanski. The Liberals put small-town mayors (and their counsels) between a rock and a hard place. You knew you wanted them to go along with wind turbine projects, but you didn’t give them the resources to make informed decisions. So you took them out of the middle to achieve your desired result. How democratic! Then you provided them with an excuse they could give their constituents–“my hands were tied by the GEA”. Yes, they would appreciate that.

    Now this one…. “But larger ones [projects], with the capacity to generate more than 50 megawatts of power, could only move forward if the municipalities signed on”….. “would only apply to new projects, not those that have already been approved”. Please tell us what percentage of the large contracts have already been approved, and how many new ones you expect to approve in the future. What consolation is that to the people who are, or will be, living too close to turbines for comfort and health issues, because of already approved contracts? No wooden nickels, please.

    “…..Mr. Smitherman chastises developers for failing to seek out partners where turbines are being built. As a remedy, he proposes a minimum 10 per cent local ownership requirement, so that communities “have some skin in the game.””….. Who should hold 10 percent local ownership? The land lessors? Is this a carrot on a stick to get more landowners to sign contracts? Are you not getting enough turbines going because of a shortage of land contracts? Is this slowing down the wind farm construction rates? Or are you implying that each community has investors who can make a profit by buying into wind farms? Would this include municipal councils taking 10 percent ownership, to try and get them on board with wind farms, and suppress opposition to them? Let them do your dirty work and take all the heat. In return, they get to increase the local coffers, with our tax money from the provincial government. I thought the Liberals were trying to spare small-town mayors from contentious issues.

    Thanks for weighing in, Mr. Smitherman. Did you read all of this? Now go back and read it closely again, and please show it to Dalton. I’m not sure he “gets it” yet. When the Red Team can come up with a win-win proposal for green energy, let us know. So far, all I’m hearing is “I win, you lose” from the Liberals.

    • “Abusive” and “laughable” to whom? Rural Ontarians or the people promoting IWTs?
      The first set of “studies” done by the Chief Medical Officer was a literature review and based on no new research. Read a bunch of papers and write a report. This is high school level work. A CYA operation and used to justify installing IWTs in Ontario. The government thought they could fool rural Ontarinas because they would not know the difference between a literature review and new original research work. The same applies to the second report done recently. Neither report is worth the tribunal’s time. Their only real use is to furnish political cover for installing IWTs and this has been very effective as the MSM askes no questions of this government when it comes to IWTs.

      • Hi Barbara,
        The terms “abusive” and “laughable” were directed to the appellants, and their position. WAG is appealing the [wind] project because of concerns for its effects on the health of nearby residents. See the London Free Press article at to see a fuller glance at the context.

        I had to chuckle at Ms. Rotter. When their side said they didn’t want to waste time rehashing everything that had already been brought to the table, she proceeded to rehash their position fairly completely.

    • If all the governmnet has to present is the two reports they had done then it is a waste of time to present information based on literature reviews and similar materials. Just a waste of the tribunal’s time. Why not just sumit a bibliography of literature they reviewed and let the tribunal read the papers? Would save lots of time which could be used to hear victims testimony.

  6. Don’t kid yourselves. In my opinion he is getting ready to run again for some elected position, some where. He knows how unpopular the Liberals’ stance is on the GEA, so he must “soften” the stance of the GEA if he is going to go anywhere in politics. A re-invention in progress.

  7. Hard to know whether one should laugh or cry at this news. Smitherman never seems to have done his due diligence,not for the GEA, not for E-Health, not for jumping into the Toronto mayoral race. The outcome was failure, each time. Enough oratorical skills to climb high on the political ladder, but not enough depth or wisdom to keep himself out of trouble and all of us out of huge
    financial boondoggles. On such a record, he should not get elected dogcatcher.

  8. This wee ignorant and malicious man should never ever be quoted again with anything having to do with our life in Ontario,or whether or not the Greed Energy Act is working out or not!!! This man was the point man on McGuintys vicious attack on Rural Ontario and the only words he should ever utter again is GUILTY in front of a judge for what he has done to this once great Province!…………..the man has no shame whatsover!

  9. Did Smitherman ever produce his donor list for his run for mayor ? He had refused during the election. Perhaps some South Korean money found its way to his camp. Just wondering

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