Ontario Liberal leadership hopefuls split on green energy policies

Lib candidate protestKaren Howlett, The Globe and Mail
[excerpt] Ms. Wynne said the seven candidates, all former cabinet ministers in the McGuinty government, would not even be debating the topic if the Liberals had not had the vision to stake the province’s economic future on building a renewable energy sector. “I acknowledge the concerns and mistakes that may have been made,” Ms. Wynne said at an all-candidates debate in Ottawa on Tuesday evening. “But we took a leap to create a green economy. I don’t think any other party would have done that.”

Gerard Kennedy and Eric Hoskins also said Liberals should be proud of the fact that the McGuinty government is on track to phase out Ontario’s coal-fired plants by 2014, a move they said has gone a long way to clean up the province’s air. Closing the coal-fired plants – a pledge first made by Mr. McGuinty during the 2003 provincial election campaign – may have been the right idea, said Glen Murray. But he sharply criticized Mr. McGuinty over the execution of the policy and for not consulting with rural communities opposed to having wind turbines in their backyards. “We can’t just get it half right,” Mr. Murray said. “We didn’t listen to our MPPs. I dare say, if we had done that we wouldn’t be having problems.”

The manner in which Mr. McGuinty pulled the plug on two gas-fired power plants slated for Oakville and Mississauga shows why the Liberals need to put all cabinet ministers and MPPs in charge of government. Mr. Murray and other candidates have said too many policy decisions were made in the Premier’s Office without consultation. Charles Sousa said he fought the gas-fired plant slated for Mississauga right from the get-go. “I opposed it because it was literally a stone’s throw away from people’s homes,” he said. Mr. McGuinty ultimately cancelled the power plant during the provincial election campaign in the fall of 2011, after construction had started.

Sandra Pupatello, also a front runner, said the Liberals need a leader who will stand up and defend the green energy act by pointing to all the jobs created in Ontario since the government began offering incentives to companies to build wind and solar power. “We put Ontario on the map internationally as a green energy jurisdiction,” Ms. Pupatello said. But the green energy policies have become a “yolk” for the governing Liberals, she said, and that has to change. But Ms. Pupatello also acknowledged that the government’s implementation of the green energy policies was “less than stellar.” She said the Liberals need to learn a lesson from what didn’t work and make sure they do a better job of listening to grassroots members of the party. The last time the party held an ideas conference was before the Liberals came to power in 2003, Ms. Pupatello said. “We weren’t the government, but we were acting like one and we were reaching out to Liberals for great ideas,” she said.

Harinder Takhar questioned why the Liberals would even push ahead with any new energy projects, given that the province has a surplus of electricity.

18 thoughts on “Ontario Liberal leadership hopefuls split on green energy policies

    • These leadership candidates aren’t hopefuls, they
      are hopeless. What part of reality would indicate that
      McGuinty’s green dream has been anything but a
      total failure. They’ve all had one too many spliffs.

  1. Former MPP Pupatello’s remarks about the number of “green” jobs is a joke. Dosen’t she know what’s taking place around the world in the “green” energy manufacturing sectors?
    The 50,000 jobs in Ontario was thrown out to the public as a means of getting the public to go along with this scheme. It has taken much time on the part of rural Ontarians to disprove this. Information had to be gathered from all over North America to disprove that this is the case. By the way the 50,000 jobs number has been used to put this over in other countries as well.

    • What a FRAUD!

      Based on this article, we ought to heap shame on Kathleen Wynne and Sandra Pupatello.

      Why don’t the police recognize the frauds that these women are complicit in!?

      • Remember our conversation about the fact that police will ONLY respond IF YOU lay a complaint.
        Police will NEVER go running around LOOKING for white collar crime; they don’t have enough personnel.

    • There is information that closing coal fired plants won’t reduce air polution particles and that paving rural Ontario roads would reduce the air polution a lot. Urban polution is caused by particles in the air that come form such sources as tire particles form tires hitting the pavement. Also vehicles with diesel engines are not required have anti-polution devices. Most of the air polution particles in urban areas comes from the urban areas and not from coal fired power plants.

      • The coal fired power plants provide a scapegoat, distraction and excuses for not discussing the real IWT issues.
        Not installing polution controls on all Ontario coal powered plants has allowed them to be used as political issues. If the pollution controls had been installed on them then they couldn’d be used as a reason to to sell IWTs.

      • A report from the provincial gvmt in 2010 estimated
        that U.S. sourced air pollution is responsible for more
        than half of S. Ontario’s smog.

  2. “green energy policies have become a “yolk”” ?????
    do you mean Yoke???
    like the wooden cross piece that attaches oxen together…
    like the worst than wearisome yoke that has to be borne by neighbours of industrial wind turbines??
    Libs face it … you are a joke (yes that rhymes with yoke)… you fell for the wind scam…. you have yolk on your faces.

    • In the meantime, while these “leader wannabes” keep spouting none sense. More IWT projects are approved and IWT project appeals are withdrawn due to the way the ERT process is stacked in favor of the IWT companies.

      And of course Hudak is not willing to stop approved projects or stop IWTs already up and running, should he be the next Premier. I had such hope. I was delusional, I guess.

      • Petra, you have to understand that, despite the way the Liberals have been acting, politicians cannot just act with impunity. They have to respect contracts and not put the public at risk of law suits etc. However, that does not preclude the government from examining the contracts and the manner in which they were awarded. Regulations and standards can be updated and enforced etc. This will be an on-going process. Beware of politicians who make irresponsible promises to get your vote. That is how we ended up in the current mess.

      • To energy01 – In this case isn’t it about time we found a few politicians prepared to protect the best interests of Canadians, and in our case, Ontarians as a priority, and take any action to prevent any further harm, rather than remain scared of unelected and overpaid staff and lawyers who tell them what they cannot do because of flawed policies and laws the same staff and lawyers wrote and that are now being used to protect what can only now be described as criminal activities?
        Are you advising we just sit back and let the wind and solar energy industries do whatever they want?
        Andrew Watts

  3. Maybe we will be lucky. The Quebec investigators that are looking into organized crime are beginning to view the Ontario Government!
    All I can say is that they will have a busy time of it!

  4. WOW, Big Green Lie, now there’s a make-work program with some teeth. We should be able to employ every unemployed person in the province, probably quite a few would even give up the jobs they have in order to apply for a nice easy, enjoyable job like that. We could consider it a “green” occupation as well, after all, you would be ridding our province of a lot of garbage.

    • Oh Chev!!! I LOVE that idea!!! I’d volunteer my time. They wouldn’t even have to pay me. Can you imagine the fun of a job like that? We could have a score board at one end of the room to keep tally on all the fraud, illegal back door deals, breach of public trust, abuse of public funds, …. etc. etc. That poor board wouldn’t be able to keep up!!!

  5. Copying in here, a comment posted in the Globe and Mail in response to the Howlett article:

    “What all of these candidates have to face up to, and “wear”, is that Ontario’s wind turbines do virtually nothing for the Environment. Because of the mismatch of wind-availability to system demand (over the year and through the day) they are not displacing any significant amount of coal. As the wind fleet is further expanded, as committed and planned, wind will increasingly cause the displacement of clean Nuclear by Natural Gas; this pushes toward increasing Ontario’s C02 emissions!!
    So wind power, which comes with many economic and societal costs, provides essentially no environmental benefit, and actually pushes toward causing some environmental damage.

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