Promote energy efficiency instead of building power projects: Enviro watchdog

600_hydro_miller_110614Ottawa Sun
TORONTO – Ontario continues to let millions in potential energy savings go by the wayside — while at the same time pursuing expensive power projects that need to be forced on unwilling residents, environmental commissioner Gord Miller said Tuesday.

“My message is how can we possibly ignore this?” Miller said Tuesday of the potential savings from conserving energy and promoting energy efficiency.

“We’re fascinated with the price of electricity. Well this is the cheapest electricity — it’s readily available, it’s already built, if you like. It involves no more disturbance of anybody’s land or anybody’s home.

“Our culture, our solution is always this — build more. That has been our solution — build more generation and we’ve been pursuing that for decades. The problem is the build more option is always more expensive.”

Miller joked that Ontarians want power — but not if it comes from coal, natural gas, nuclear reactors or wind turbines. People object to living near all types of power plants, he said but the province is still forging ahead with new projects when a greater emphasis on conservation could make some construction unnecessary. Read article

Is the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources undermining our environmental legislation?

Report by Keith Stelling

Full text posted below, or download here: Is the Ontario MNR undermining our environmental legislation? Continue reading

The provincial government & the wind industry killed this eagle nest today.

Image

DSC03328

MNR authorizes removal of Bald Eagle nest in Haldimand Wind Development!!!

Authorization for the removal of a Bald Eagle nest under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA)

SHAME ON YOU – MNR!!!

From the EBR:
“The [Nextera] Summerhaven Wind Energy Centre is located in Haldimand County and is expected to have a maximum generating capacity of more than 120 megawatts (56 wind turbines).”

“This project has been awarded a Feed-in-Tariff contract by the Ontario Power Authority, received the Renewable Energy Approval from the Ministry of the Environment and an approved Natural Heritage Assessment (NHA) from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). No Significant Wildlife Habitat (SWH) was identified at this location during the preparation of the NHA.”

“The Commercial Operation Date (COD) is January 19, 2013. The project is now in its construction phase.”

“Since receiving all required approvals for this project, Bald Eagles (listed as special concern in Ontario) have built a nest within the project location in a tree that was scheduled to be removed for the construction of a road, and within 20 metres of the blade sweep of a proposed turbine.

The nest was brought to the attention of MNR in summer 2012 and confirmed in the fall when leaves fell from the tree. Confirmation of an active nest was given by Bird Studies Canada and Guelph District.

Bald Eagles typically start to look for nests in early winter and have been known to use more than one nest. By removing the nest before January 6th it is anticipated they will find another suitable nest location and will avoid disturbing them during their critical nesting period. Timing is critical as the eagles are not currently situated in the nest, however they have been seen perching in the near area. Removing the nest will reduce the risk of eagle mortality at the site. NextEra plans to provide artificial nests in the surrounding areas to ensure that the eagle pair can safely relocate.

MNR has granted authorization under Subsection 7(3) of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA) to remove the nest site by January 6th 2013.

Video: Bentley prorogues Conversation with Rural Ontario on wind turbines

Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley agreed to meeting AND a conversation with only a limited number of residents from rural Ontario (fourexactly, but we took five, 2 of home are already victims of wind turbines). It became apparent very early on in the “meeting” that there would be no “conversation”, as Mr. Bentley stonewalled question after question. The time to pretend to “gather information” was over 4 years ago, Bentely — you have the information, but you choose to ignore it, and ignore us. Good luck ever winning rural Ontario vote back again, if the Liberals view this as the way a democracy works.

Secret Documents Reveal that Liberal Government Knew of Adverse Health Effects of Turbines

LISA THOMPSONFor Immediate Release
January 2, 2013
(Queen’s Park) — Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request show that officials from the Ministry of Environment were aware of adverse health effects caused by wind turbines in 2009. These documents also show that one wind power company encouraged the Ministry to take a “consistent position” with their company to support the Green Energy.

“These documents prove that government officials were aware that wind turbines were adversely affecting the health of residents,” explained Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce and PC Deputy Critic for Green Energy. “The Liberal government has systematically silenced rural voices to advance a misguided green energy agenda.”

Of the 300 pages that were collected, only 26 were released and many of those pages were heavily redacted. The released documents show that officials were working on an abatement plan to help the residents affected by wind turbine noise and by the transformer station. However, the report, which was completed in 2009, was never made public. Continue reading

More harm/maim/ kill/ destroy habitat of endangered species permits for wind company

blandings_turtleEnvironmental Registry
Ostrander Point GP Inc. has applied for and has been issued an overall benefit permit under clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 with respect to Blanding’s Turtle, Eastern Whip-poor-will and Eastern Whip-poor-will habitat, for the purpose of the construction and maintenance of Ostrander Point Wind Energy Park in the Township of South Marysburgh.

Whip-poor-will

Both Whip-poor-will (Caprimlugus vociferous) and Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), are listed as threatened on the Species at Risk in Ontario List in Ontario Regulation 230/08 (O. Reg. 230/08) of the ESA. Clause 9 (1)(a) of the ESA provides that no person shall kill, harm, harass, capture or take a living member of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as extirpated, endangered or threatened.

Whip-poor-will currently has general habitat protection under the ESA. Clause 10(1)(a) of the ESA provides that no person shall damage or destroy the habitat of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario list as an endangered or threatened species.

The Minister of Natural Resources may issue a permit to an applicant under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA that authorizes the person to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by section 9 or 10 of the ESA if the Minister is of the opinion that the main purpose of the activity authorized by the permit is not to assist in the protection or recovery of the species specified in the permit, but,

  • (i) the Minister is of the opinion that an overall benefit to the species will be achieved within a reasonable time through requirements imposed by conditions of the permit, and,
  • (ii) the Minister is of the opinion that reasonable alternatives have been considered, including alternatives that would not adversely affect the species, and the best alternative has been adopted, and,
  • (iii) the Minister is of the opinion that reasonable steps to minimize adverse effects on individual members of the species are required by conditions of the permit.

An overall benefit to both species would be achieved through the following activities:

  • Proponent to acquire and manage a property outside the project area (that meets appropriate criteria as defined by the Ministry of Natural Resources) for the habitat preservation, rehabilitation and/or improvement of both Blanding’s turtle and Whip-poor-will.
  • Publication of Whip-poor-will survey methodology and the results of pre-construction monitoring
  • Financial support to fund graduate research related to Whip-poor-will for one of the following subjects of interest: variation in nesting success rates with proximity to turbines, variation in fledging dates with proximity to turbines, variation in territory size with proximity to turbines, foraging behaviour differences in response to turbines, and site fidelity. This research would be peer-reviewed and published.
  • Beyond standard species monitoring, a benefit to the species will be achieved through value added monitoring for multiple years on both the newly acquired property, as well as the windpower site, to gather new information and knowledge about Blanding’s Turtles and how they use their habitat. Value added monitoring being considered includes; successful techniques and methods to restore damaged Blanding’s Turtle habitat, movement patterns between life-cycle sub-habitats such as hibernation and nesting. Other value added monitoring efforts are being considered by Gilead and will be agreed upon with the MNR district. Reports summarizing monitoring results will be submitted to MNR annually.

More Information

Hey Bentley – do you have a conscience?

Grade 2letter student

Wind Company & Ontario Government Appear to Make Mockery of Renewable Energy Approvals Process

ist2_137405-rubber-stamp-approvedFor Immediate Release
December 17, 2012

Toronto, Ontario – An  announcement by industrial wind developer WPD Canada, supported by the Ontario government, appears to make it clear to residents across Ontario that the regulatory process currently in place for granting and appealing wind projects is a mere “rubber stamp” formality.

WPD has announced that it will be establishing a facility to construct more than 50 industrial wind turbines. However, five of the six projects the facility is to supply have not been approved. In total, only four (4) of the fifty two (52) turbines, or less than eight percent (8%) that the facility will reportedly assemble and/or construct have been granted an approval.

Residents in these communities are deeply disturbed by what appears to be WPD’s, and in turn the Ontario Government’s, apparent willingness to publicly announce the facility long before the regulatory review process and any subsequent appeals to the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal are complete.

In doing so, the government and wind company appear to have indicated that public consultation, review by Ministry officials and the entire appeal process are likely meaningless, as both the wind developer and government are sufficiently confident in the end result to announce the facility today. What is now evident to many is that WPD and the Ontario Government appear to view the granting of all approvals for these projects as a foregone conclusion.

For further information please contact:
Kawartha Lakes: Sumac Ridge & Settlers Landing Opposition Group – Stuart Williams 905-432-5661
Middlesex: Middlesex-Lambton Wind Action Group Inc. – Harvey Wrightman 519-247-3751
Prince Edward: Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County – Henri Garand 613-476-4527
Simcoe: John Wiggins 912-574-6347
Wellington: Oppose Belwood Wind Farm Association – Janet Vallery 519-803-4267
North American Platform Against Wind – Sherry Lange 416-567-5115
Legal Counsel – Eric K. Gillespie Professional Corporation – Eric Gillespie 416-436-7473

Min of Energy grants millions of tax dollars for so called ‘community’ projects

Pigs_TroughHey, who would of known that this was yet another way for the Ontario Liberals to spend your money…grants, grants, grants for community (yeah, right) solar and wind!!
Some notable winners!
$200,000 Rankin Construction & IPC, Loeffen Farms
$200,000 Wainfleet Wind Energy Inc. – Rankin & IPC, Loeffen Farms
$200,000 Eirin Wind Farm MK Ince – this includes the Davis-Dagg/Wouters project in Plympton Wyoming – fishy as supposedly this project sold out to Suncor.
$60,000 Roubos Wind Farm – MK Ince involvement
$75,000 River Canard Energy 
$194,300 Willow Creek Wind Project – no info available
$169,900 Majestic Wind Farm – Leader Resources (Chuck Edey)

——————————————————————————————-
The Community Energy Partnerships Program (CEPP) is a grant program to support community power in Ontario. We assist community power projects through funding support of up to $500,000. Funding opportunities for renewable energy education projects are also available to assist not-for-profit, charitable and co-operative organizations in Ontario.

Background
In the fall of 2009, the Ontario Minister of Energy and Infrastructure directed the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to establish the Community Energy Partnerships Program to facilitate the participation of Ontario communities in the development of renewable energy generation facilities; in particular to assist communities in paying for some of the soft costs associated with the development of renewable energy projects. The most recent direction, issued by the Minister of Energy on November 23, 2012 directs the OPA to provide limited funding support for projects that are not yet subject to a FIT Contract.

Governance
The directing body of the CEPP is the Review Committee, which consists of seven members and a Fairness Monitor. Review Committee members are leaders in their field with expertise in the renewable energy market, finance, project development, and senior management. The Fairness Monitor observes the meetings of the Review Committee, is privy to all the same information, and ensures that a fair process is followed for all decisions, that the evaluation criteria are adhered to, and that applications are reviewed and evaluated in a reasonable time.

Project Grants Awarded
The Community Energy Partnerships Program has awarded 155 project grants representing over 93 MW of new, community-owned renewable energy projects.

Project Name Grant Amount
Fed Sol 50,000
Port Dover Farms 30,000
Poulettes Skye Pullets 27,000
Longhurst 16,200
Lindsay A Solar Farm 5,637
Lindsay B Solar Farm   5,637   
Seagrave 1 Solar Farm   5,637   
Pine Point Solar Farm   5,429   
Burlington Renewable Energy Project 75,000
PEC Biomass 181,530
Domville 101-1 26,450
HAF Wind Energy Project 200,000 Continue reading

Wind Haunts Minister of Energy

CHATHAM – A dozen “spirited” citizens got up early to greet Minister of Energy Chris Bentley (or is that still his title with the contempt charges and proroguing ???) at a Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce breakfast where he was the feature speaker.

We never actually saw him so he must have done one of his usual back door entrances. People in attendance at the breakfast meeting said that Bentley “soft-shoed” around the wind issues in the Q&A session because he realizes that it is a contentious issue.

The black clad Wind Wraiths wielding blood red signs declaring the death of property values, communities, farm land, democracy and health (to name a few) garnered lots of support from the busy workday morning traffic and opened eyes in the usually sleepy Chatham. “We even scared away all the crows”, said one proud protestor.

Their message is clear. Turbines are a nightmare… for all of Ontario, and especially for those people who find they have them as neighbours. The Wind Wraiths will continue to haunt the Liberals and all those involved in bringing the nightmare scam of industrial wind to rural Ontario until the turbines are stopped and reparations are made for the harm done.
CKWAG

Bentley haunted by the wind wraiths in Chatham

By Bob Boughner, Chatham Daily News
A new province-wide industrial electrical incentive will be launched in January, according to Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley. The cabinet official made the announcement in Chatham Monday during a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce. He said details of the program will be rolled out in the coming weeks. Bentley said at the outset larger industries will be invited to take advantage of the program, which will provide electricity at a discounted price. The program will eventually be made available to smaller firms.

Although details of the program were sketchy, Bentley said it will offer two-thirds off the regular price of electricity to companies willing to start up a second or third shift to create jobs. Bentley said Ontario has a good supply of electricity thanks, in part, to the world-wide recession, and intends to make it available to businesses to help create jobs. The energy minister praised Chatham-Kent officials for their leadership in the green energy field although didn’t elaborate on the growing number of wind turbines in southwestern Ontario other than to say the evidence from around the world shows they are safe, they are job creators and provide income for landowners who make their property available for turbines.

Bentley was greeted outside the John D. Bradley Convention Centre by more than a dozen placard-carrying opponents of wind turbines, some garbed in black robes. Among them was former MP Rex Crawford of Dover. Asked about the demonstrators, Bentley said it was their democratic right to be able to express their views. Read article
Wind wraith

Wind turbines ‘killing jobs’ PC energy critic contends

by Patrick Raftis, The Wellington Advertiser
Wind energy is “killing jobs” in Ontario. That’s part of the message Progressive Conservative energy critic Victor Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing, brought with him on a tour of the region last week. Fedeli visited Alma, Mount Forest, Listowel, St. Marys and Stratford on Nov. 15, accompanied, at several stops, by Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece.

“With a group in Alma along with MPPs Randy Pettapiece and Ted Arnott (Wellington-Halton Hills) talking about wind energy killing jobs,” Fedeli tweeted during his visit there. Pettapiece said the gathering at the Alma Community Centre was a small one and included a few local citizens who had expressed some concerns about wind energy. The residents’ concerns focused on proposed projects in the Arthur and Belwood areas. Pettapiece said wind energy is a job killer because “industries are leaving Ontario because they can’t afford the energy prices.”

The MPP said Ontario would face the same fate as European countries that have gone heavily into wind power and are now “cancelling their contracts because they can’t afford the energy.” Read article

Wake up Bentley Protest !!!

MINISTER of ENERGY CHRIS BENTLEY, will be at a Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce breakfast. Let’s meet and protest outside!

Date: Monday, December 3
Time: 7:40 AM
Location: Chatham-Kent John D. Bradley Convention Centre, 565 Richmond St.,Chatham  MAP
Just bring your signs and noise makers!!!!

Mortality threshold

Rick Conroy, The Times
How ministry bureaucracy tasked with protecting Ontario’s natural heritage is clearing the way for industrial wind development

What is an Important Bird Area? Does it have any specific meaning or legal weight? Not much, it seems, when it comes to industrial wind factories or solar energy generating facilities, according to the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

In response to questions posed in a letter by Milford-area resident Kathy McPherson, an official from the MNR wrote that “IBAs (important bird areas) are nongovernmental designations, and do not constitute a wildlife habitat under the Ministry of the Environment’s Renewable Energy Approval (REA) regulation.

Eric Boysen, a director of the Renewable Energy Program within the MNR, was only saying what has been evident since the McGuinty government passed the heavy-handed Green Energy Act—that accepted norms of practice, the views of respected conservancy organizations, the public’s expectations about preserving Crown Land and the very primacy of the province’s natural resources are of little consequence to this provincial government, and won’t be allowed to slow down its ambitions for renewable energy.

Boysen goes on to say that IBAs could inform the designation of a SWH (significant wildlife habitat) but only SWHs are protected under the NHA (Natural Heritage Assessment) process.

Boysen’s response provides a window into how ministry bureaucrats, traditionally accused of setting up roadblocks, are actually clearing the path for the developers seeking to build these factories on land that would otherwise be considered off-limits. Read article

Amend Sec. 12.1 of the GEA – Democracy Now!

Only minor adjustments needed, and why would any democratic government object?

Sec. 12.1
(1.1)  A person who proposes to engage in a renewable energy project but does not comply with the requirements set out in subsection (1) may [not] be eligible for the issue of a renewable energy approval if the Director [Public] is of the opinion that failure to comply with those requirements will not compromise an adequate understanding of the negative environmental effects of engaging in the renewable energy project. O. Reg. 521/10, s. 5 (2).

(1.2)  A person who proposes to engage in a renewable energy project but does not comply with the requirements set out in subsection (1) may [not] be eligible for the issue of a renewable energy approval if the Director  [Public] is of the opinion that failure to comply with those requirements will improve [impede] consultation respecting the project with the public, local authorities or any aboriginal communities. O. Reg. 521/10, s. 5 (2).

Video: Energy Minister Bentley dances away from wind turbine victims

Four rural Ontario women visit Energy Minister Mr. Chris Bentley’s constituency office. Two of the women, who currently live in wind developments, drove 2 1/2 hours to his office and have one simple question for him to answer: “Why won’t you believe people are suffering from wind turbines?”. This proves to be a difficult one for him to answer. Note: Mr. Bentley has never met with wind turbine victims in his full year as Energy Minister.

Expose & Fight GEA 12.1!

The meaning of Section 12.1 is not nearly as boring as the number might lead you to believe. If you would like to only read several sentences of the GEA Reg 359/09 in your lifetime, skip down to this number. Twelve-point-one is the loop hole through which all wind projects are funneled, to ensure guaranteed approval by the Ministry of Environment.

Doing so will save you years of fighting, and quite simply sums up how once you have gone through the process set out by the Ministry of Environment, the wind company meetings, the comment forms, the reading of thousands of pages of technical documents, the questions, more comment forms and more reading, … and once you have finally come to the end, depleted of energy, resources and life, you get one real chance at appealing the MOE Directors approval of this project: The Environmental Review Tribunal Appeal.

But what if I were to tell you that right in the midst of the Green Energy Act it says that even if there are some serious mistakes made in the wind company’s research, documents and consultation, it is written in the GEA that the MOE Director can approve the project anyway, as long is it is his “opinion” that none of these mistakes really matter. Such as, whether you were properly consulted (you don’t really matter), or the wrong noise map was presented (there isn’t any noise, right?), or the archaeological or water assessments were incomplete (it’s all underground, nobody will see.)

Unfortunately it’s true. Have a quick read through it:
Sec. 12.1
(1.1)  A person who proposes to engage in a renewable energy project but does not comply with the requirements set out in subsection (1) may be eligible for the issue of a renewable energy approval if the Director is of the opinion that failure to comply with those requirements will not compromise an adequate understanding of the negative environmental effects of engaging in the renewable energy project. O. Reg. 521/10, s. 5 (2). Continue reading

Energy minister announces Ontario’s FIT for 2013

Energy Minister Chris Bentley on “community acceptance” of wind power:
“That takes time, far more time than you think it is going to, far more time than anyone might like,” said Bentley. “But it’s important to get it right because we are in it for the long term.”

Diane Bailey, Windpower Monthly Magazine
CANADA: Ontario will begin accepting applications for feed-in tariff (FIT) contracts from large-scale projects next year, said energy minister Chris Bentley.

“We’re going to be opening up a large FIT window in 2013,” he said in a speech on the final day of the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s annual conference in Toronto.

The last FIT contract awards were made in July 2011, and the question of when contracting would resume has been a source of significant uncertainty for Ontario’s wind sector. The province launched a review of the FIT programme in October 2011 which culminated in August with the release of some major rule changes, but few details about future procurement plans. Read article

Green zombie

by Tom Adams, Financial Post
56,000 documents reveal Ontario’s energy disaster

Over the course of his nine years as premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty’s electricity policies gradually transformed from a loose grab bag of good intentions into a zombie. Today, ­McGuinty’s zombie, green on the outside only, grows by the day, feeding on rivers of future ratepayer cash. A preliminary analysis of 56,000 documents that the government recently released reveals that the government’s handling of the energy file is a disaster.

Consider how dramatically McGuinty’s early electricity record contrasts with his changed priorities as his premiership wound down.

When running for election in 2003, McGuinty promised to continue the Ontario electricity rate freeze that Tory premier Ernie Eves had introduced in November of 2002. The Eves rate freeze had a superficial appeal to some voters, but was weakening the power system. Once elected, McGuinty quickly reversed his electoral promise and cancelled the rate freeze. Dwight Duncan explained simply, clearly and honestly that consumers had to pay the real cost of energy, that deficit financing electricity was irresponsible.

Once he was elected, McGuinty’s electoral demagoguery gave way to his issues-management style of government. His first electric flip-flop was driven by what he saw as pragmatism. Read article

Queen’s Park dingbats frightened?

Hmmm, McGuinty, and Energy Ministers Duguid, Smitherman, Bentley…
What’s spooking them?

Chris Bentley won’t vie for Liberal leadership post

The Toronto Star
Energy Minister Chris Bentley, long seen as an heir apparent to Premier Dalton McGuinty, will not seek the Liberal helm and is quitting politics after the next election. The 56-year-old Bentley — who Liberals admit took one for the team by bearing the brunt of opposition attacks over controversial gas plants cancelled before he was minister — made it official Thursday night in his riding of London West.

The nine-year MPP told the Star that the furor over the scrapped power plants in Mississauga and Oakville, which will cost taxpayers at least $230 million, was not the reason for his decision. “I’ve been on this path for some time, though nothing that’s happened recently has got me off that path,” said Bentley, with a wry laugh. The well-regarded London lawyer is the second top minister this week to announce his departure from politics after considering a run at the top job in the wake of the 57-year-old McGuinty’s retirement announcement Oct. 15.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, 53, called it quits Wednesday, throwing his support behind former minister Sandra Pupatello, 50. Duncan won’t run again in Windsor—Tecumseh in a vote expected next spring, vacating the seat for Pupatello if, as expected, she contests the leadership. Read article

WTO ruling crucial for Ontario energy jobs, says Chris Bentley

John Spears, Toronto Star
An interim trade ruling on Ontario’s local-content rules for renewable energy projects has gone against Ontario, says a Swiss-based agency. And while Ontario’s energy minister Chris Bentley wouldn’t comment directly on the report, he acknowledged that local content rules are at the heart of Liberal energy policy.

The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development says that a panel of the World Trade Organization has said that Ontario’s local content requirement violates international trade rules. The centre says it is still an interim ruling, which has been sent to the parties involved for comment.

Japan and the European Union had complained about Ontario’s feed-in tariff rules. Under those rules, developers of renewable energy projects must source a minimum percentage of the project’s goods and services from local suppliers, in order to qualify for the energy prices paid under the program.

For example, large wind projects must have 50 per cent local content and large solar, 60 per cent under current rules. The centre for trade says that the panel has ruled that the content rules discriminate against foreign suppliers. All the parties have a chance to comment before a final ruling is made, and the final ruling can be appealed.

In an interview Monday, Bentley wasn’t yet conceding a loss. “It’s important to wait for the final report,” he said. Should the final decision go against Canada, he said Ontario would work with the federal government toward an appeal, if needed. Read article

Gas plant scandal should finish McGuinty Liberals

By Christina Blizzard , Toronto Sun
Let’s just call it the way it is.
They lied.
Premier Dalton McGuinty lied.
Liberal House leader John Milloy lied. Energy Minister Chris Bentley lied.
They all assured us, solemn-faced, that all the documents regarding the controversial cancellation of two power plants — one in Mississauga, the other in Oakville — had been released.
Then, on a Friday afternoon on a week when the House isn’t sitting, the Ontario Power Authority quietly dumped another 20,000 documents.
The government can argue all they like that they have no control of the OPA.
That’s a joke. The OPA is a creature of the McGuinty government. From its early days, the agency was staffed with people with strong ties to the Liberals — such as Ben Chin, who once ran for the Liberals and who worked as an adviser in McGuinty’s office.
If OPA is so incompetent it didn’t realize there were still documents to be released, there’s only one way to point fingers — and that’s at the McGuinty government.
There are times when Opposition parties go over the top, demanding the resignation of cabinet members for minor misdemeanours.
Not this time. Read article

Ontario Tories accuse Liberals of ‘cover-up’ after 20,000-page document dump

Karen Howlett, The Globe and Mail
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and two of his cabinet ministers are facing the spectre of a rare contempt of Parliament censure over the governing Liberals’ cancellation of two gas-plant projects west of Toronto. Deputy Progressive Conservative Leader Christine Elliott made the threat on Friday, just hours after the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority released 20,000 pages of documents related to the projects. The release caught opposition members off guard, because government members had insisted that everything already had been disclosed.

Bureaucrats took full responsibility, saying in a letter to the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly that it is “regrettable” the additional documents were not identified as part of the ministry’s original search. The opposition did not accept that explanation. “Clearly, the Liberals are hiding something,” Ms. Elliott told reporters at a hastily-called news conference. “Try as they may to blame this on a bureaucratic mix-up…what we’re really witnessing here is a political cover-up.”

Energy Minister Chris Bentley is already facing a contempt of Parliament motion after the Tories and New Democrats used their majority in the Legislature to vote in favour of having the Finance Committee investigate the government’s decision to pull the plug on the two gas plants. The committee has until Nov. 19 to determine whether Mr. Bentley should be held in contempt for refusing to release documents to a legislative committee last May.

The government released some documents last July, revealing that the Liberals’ mid-campaign decision to cancel a gas-fired power plant slated for Mississauga, which was hotly opposed by residents, cost taxpayers $190-million. Read article

Save the Queen’s Park dingbat population

Image

Watchdog looks to protect birds from turbines

Toronto Sun
TORONTO – Ontario’s environmental commissioner may love wind power but he believes more needs to be done to protect migrating birds and bats from the powerful turbines.

“Even though bird mortality is very low, relative to other sources, for wind turbines, why would we go into important bird areas,” Gord Miller said Tuesday on the release of his 2011-12 annual report, Losing Our Touch.

The commissioner — a strong supporter of wind-powered electricity generation — is recommending that the provincial government prohibit turbines in sensitive bird areas such as Point Pelee and the Leslie Street Spit in Toronto.

Miller also warned that Ontario is doing a poor job of monitoring wildlife impacted by the forestry industry, and appears unprepared to take serious action in the increasing likelihood of drought.

“This report is full of examples of stumbles and retreats in the implementation of programs and initiatives that were seemingly well conceived and used to work acceptably,” Miller said.

Natural Resources Minister Michael Gravelle said there are guidelines in place which require wind power companies to protect wildlife and to monitor the post-construction impact of projects.

“We do have thresholds that are part of those guidelines and if those thresholds are reached or exceeded, the company has obligations to take measures to improve those situations,” Gravelle said.

The minister also said that the government takes its obligation to monitor wildlife seriously. Read article

Energy Minister Chris Bentley must answer to a contempt of parliament charge

Jonathan Sher, London Free Press
Ontario MPPs voted 53-50 Tuesday to send Energy Minister Chris Bentley of London to answer a charge of contempt of parliament — a charge that hasn’t stuck in more than a century. At issue is how the Liberal government secretly agreed to pay $230 million to kill deals to build power plants in two Toronto area ridings on the eve of the last election. It means an all-party committee of MPPs — with the power of a court — will decide the issue later this fall.

The Free Press quizzed Bentley on the fallout.
Q: Have Liberal colleagues left you to take a bullet for Dalton McGuinty over a decision that wasn’t yours?

The premier and my colleagues have been enormously supportive . . . We took the decision not to proceed with these two power plants, a decision supported by both of the other parties and that decision meant there was going to be a cost.

Q: They’re not under a contempt investigation. You are . . . Do you feel you’ve been left to face an ordeal that wasn’t of your own making?

As I said, the premier and my colleagues have been very supportive. Today is a difficult day. We have the committee coming up and I’ll be able to hear some of the facts.

Q:  Do you feel you’ve been left to face an ordeal that wasn’t of your own making?

Today is a difficult day. We have the committee coming up and I’ll be able to hear some of the facts.

Q:  Will you run in the next Ontario election, or has this experience given you pause?

I’ll be running.

Q: Will you consider a run at the (Liberal) leadership?

My job is to represent the people of London West and in this role as the Minister of Energy. I don’t ever get ahead of my job.

Q: Your government paid $230 million to back out of building power plants in the GTA but pushed wind farms across rural Ontario. Do voters in small townships matter less than voters in Oakville and Mississauga?

Not at all . . . The new rules we’ve come up with . . . make it much more likely that communities that either participate in or support renewable energy projects will get them. Read article

Contempt motion against Ontario energy minister passes key vote

Karen Howlette, Globe and Mail
A legislative committee in Ontario will determine the fate of Energy Minister Chris Bentley, who is facing a rare contempt of Parliament censure. Opposition members used their majority votes on Tuesday to pass a motion to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Finance for further debate. The motion passed on a vote of 53 in favour and 50 against.

Opposition leaders ignored Premier Dalton McGuinty’s pleas earlier Tuesday to allow MPPs to vote with their conscience. MPPs voted on the opposition motion to refer the contempt matter against Mr. Bentley to the legislative committee for further debate.

Mr. McGuinty said before the vote that Mr. Bentley would be the first MPP in recent history to suffer this “serious indictment,” one he says would have “profound consequences” for his career, his reputation and his life. He accused MPPs of crossing the line with their “heavy-handed tactics” against his minority government. It is wrong for MPPs to use the full force of the legislature to attack the integrity and reputation of one of their colleagues, Mr. McGuinty told reporters at a news conference before Question Period.

“These attacks, these threats, this heavy-handed unprecedented process … are decidedly not in keeping with the standards and traditions we seek to uphold,” he said. Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath have a responsibility to allow a free vote on a matter, he said, one that could “substantially alter” the traditions of the provincial legislature.

Ms. Horwath said in Question Period that she plans to allow her 17 MPPs to vote with their conscience. But when was the last time Mr. McGuinty did the same, she said. “People are tired of a premier who thinks the rules apply to everyone but his government,” Ms. Horwath said.

The contempt motion concerns the governing Liberals’ cancellation of two gas plant projects west of Toronto. Speaker Dave Levac ruled last month that there is evidence Mr. Bentley breached his privileges by refusing to release documents to a legislative committee last May. Read article

Bentley shows contempt for Ontario’s rural citizens

London Free Press
On Sept. 24 Minister of Energy, Chris Bentley rose in the legislature to defend the cancellation of the Oakville power plant and to defend allegations regarding contempt of parliament, proudly announcing, “The decision was made after hearing overwhelming concerns from local residents and local elected officials. We heard concerns from families and we responded.”

Given the thousands of requests from rural Ontario to stop wind turbines from being rammed into our communities and his refusal to listen to us, Bentley’s statement shows contempt for rural Ontario and an absolute lack of respect for our citizens.

More than 90 municipalities have asked his government for a moratorium on industrial wind turbines, as have the Ontario Federation of Agricultural and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. On any given day in the legislature petitions are brought before parliament asking for the same. Yet he refuses to listen.

Instead he has the audacity to claim he is listening, when it is apparent this listening skill pertains only to urban residents when Liberal seats are in jeopardy.

Bentley’s callous disregard for the citizens of rural Ontario is shameful and a sad indicator of the differential treatment afforded to those in urban ridings. When will he stop treating Ontario’s rural residents like second class citizens?

J.C. Morris
Woodstock