Orangeville Citizen Editorial
Secret details of the furtive deal done by the McGuinty government (and Samsung conglomerate of South Korea) regarding the manufacture, or assembly, of wind turbines in Ontario and the exclusivist, expensive terms of the “Feed In Tariff, or FIT, are now coming to light. It has happened now only because Mr. McGuinty senses the political winds of change blowing in Ontario.
The date, October 6 — when his, not GO Transit’s in this case, “15 Minutes” are up — appears to be rattling the Premier’s psyche, and he is appearing to be moving into a Wizard of Oz-style hyperdrive. Perhaps it is all the batteries Mr. McGuinty has been recharging at night, during off-peak hours, in his garage.
So, as the improved — to Ontario — terms of the Samsung deal have been announced publicly and widely in the media, cracking through the government’s own cone of silence, that had been originally lowered into place over and around the original January, 2010, $7-billion pact with the Koreans, the Liberal Government now maintains magnanimously, self-congratulatorily, and openly (now that their electoral goose is so very nearly cooked), that Ontario-taxpayers will save — theoretically — $100s of millions.
One must admit that this gain is indeed “theoretical” as a) the deal is a dead Korean duck if Mr. Hudak and the PCs win the looming election; and, b) because Mr. McGuinty’s pledges are about as trustworthy as Rick Vaive’s post-golf statements to police.
The Samsung “sweetheart” deal had been “done”, heretofore, with a tremendous PR splash and a shiny signing ceremony, but involving tactics of strict silence and secret details, or terms.
Whereas, during previous Ontarian generations and with prior governments, honesty has been invariably considered the best policy, with the McGuinty Liberals installed — dimly — at Queen’s Park, the ‘best’, and favoured, policy tactic, when fibs, distortions, and distractions have all been ruled out, has been — dismally — one of resorting to secrecy.
The eminent British social historian, G.R. Elton, wrote in Policy and Police (1972), that during Reformation times the English county of Sussex, the gently rolling hop-country from whence my Anglican clergymen forebears came, “was always a shire given to its own secret ways.”
Under the sweeping, arbitrary, half-cocked, and heavy-handed “Green Reforms” of Premier McGuinty’s governments, Ontario has moved — policy-wise — more in secret then at any time, by any Ontario Government, since the Second World War.
When the Public Works Protection Act, from the 1939- 1945 era, was re-expanded, reconfigured (this Act always exists, and is extant, to secure and protect our court houses, for example) and given sweeping new powers by an Order-in-Council, provincially, during the early June 2010 period, this, too, was done in secret.
That was so, even though the Legislature at Queen’s Park was sitting contemporaneously. That responsible Assembly ought to have been dutifully notified, fully informed, and formally advised of its imposition or, indeed, its extension.
The fiery MPP John Yakabuski (P.C. – Renfrew, Nipissing, Pembroke), was ejected from the Legislature for his agitation and fury, therein.
This was before the McGuinty Government’s duping of the provincial House had become fully revealed — but with no one Minister, or the snippy-as-anything Premier, taking any responsibility whatever, as usual — to the opposition later that same year, but too late to penetrate the government’s discreditable silence at mid-summer.
And, what mid-summer mayhem ensued, partly as a result of this unwonted, unwarranted, unnecessary secret ‘enactment’ during the subsequent G20 fracases, when even the police higherups seemed ill-directed and ill-informed as to the changing letter — and extent — of the law.
That ignorance was particularly evident around that security fence, perimeter, or temporary “wall” — which became a provocative symbol to protesters — throughout so much of the downtown core of Toronto.
It was a totem that elicited so much vitriol, provided a fixed, visible target for discontent (and a smallish ‘hard core” host of malcontents, thugs and vandals, who’d arrived “in town” looking for for ‘fun’ and “cool gear” on the cheap), and which wholly unnecessary legal “grey area” — far wider than the actual five metres’ pavement’s breadth — resulted even in one man, an obnoxious techno-geek/goof (Mr. Byron Sonne) with — probably — O.C.D., a police-baiting mindset, alarmingly sophisticated computer/ technical/hacking skills, and far, far too much time on his hands, spending over 300 days in the Milton lock-up.
What a shambles secrecy can be as a fell tactic of a fearful governing class, a hyper-sensitive political elite, and modern Liberals — or the politically correct — who, when in power and wishing to remain perpetually in power as they believe they know best, seek a variety of nefarious means to stifle dissent, and to preclude opposition.
One of the most potent, but double-edged, means is the shroud of secrecy, which descends far too often these days, both provincially and municipally.
Secrets always contribute to causing a choke-hold on functioning, participatory, and healthy democracy, as we have witnessed time and again in Ontario over the last eight years, through a series of McGuinty-led regimes and directed initiatives.