Wynne Uses Wind Turbine Scam to Destroy Ontario’s Financial Stability!

Can Ontario Escape its Self-Inflicted Wind Power Disaster?

wynne

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Ontario’s energy policy is in tatters; power prices have crushed business and the roll out of thousands of these things has wrecked the lives and livelihoods of thousands, in what were once peaceful and prosperous farming communities.

In short, Kathleen Wynne & Co have dug an enormous hole from which there may be no escape. But before the Province considers how it might get out, the only sensible strategy is to stop digging – starting with bringing an end to the ludicrously generous and heavily subsidised wind power contracts that led to the inevitable debacle that’s playing out in Ontario; and which has Wynne’s Liberals petrified of the political consequences the next time their victims come to vote.

Lawrence Solomon: Yes, Ontario’s Liberals can cancel their terrible renewable power contracts—and they should do it now
Financial Post
Lawrence Solomon
15 September 2016

Ontario’s power prices are soaring out of control, industry is leaving the province, the Liberal government is panicking over its re-election prospects, and almost everyone agrees there’s no remedy, that the ludicrously lucrative long-term contracts that the Ontario government signed with wind and solar energy developers condemn the province to many more years of economic hardship.

Except there is a way to deal with the onerous contracts — rip them up. There is no compelling economic, environmental, moral or legal case for the government to “honour” odious contracts. The only honourable course of action for the government, in fact, is to admit its mistakes and pass legislation declaring those contracts null and void.

A compelling economic case? In announcing its Green Energy Act, the Liberals repeatedly boasted they’d be creating 50,000 jobs, boosting the Ontario economy to new heights. With jobs fleeing the province and business confidence at rock bottom, no one hears that boast any longer.

A compelling environmental case? Industrial wind turbines, which rely on fossil fuel backup, do next to nothing to reduce carbon dioxide, the sole rationale for their existence.

In contrast to this trivial and dubious environmental benefit, wind turbines do immense and certain environmental harm by disfiguring the countryside and slaughtering millions of birds and bats.

A compelling moral case? Ontario’s multi-billion “clean energy” industry has a squalid provenance.

This has been largely a closed-door sector in which 11 politically favoured domestic and multinational giants control 90 per cent of the wind power market, letting them pocket an estimated $10 billion in government-mandated subsidies over the next two decades. Although the industry portrays itself as small scale and local, it’s anything but.

A compelling legal case? There is none, if the province proceeds properly, explains Bruce Pardy, professor of law at Queen’s University, a former adjudicator for the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal and author of the 2014 Fraser Institute study, Cancelling Contracts: The Power of Governments to Unilaterally Alter Agreements.

“The right way is to legislate: to enact a statute that declares green contracts to be null and void, and the province to be free from liability,” he explains. “Statutes can override iron-clad provisions in a contract because that is the nature of legislative supremacy: Legislatures can pass laws of any kind, as long as they are within their jurisdiction and do not offend the constitution. Legislating on electricity production is clearly a provincial power, as are ‘property and civil rights.’”

There is no compelling case for Ontario to honour its odious renewable power deals Pardy’s analysis is sound not just in theory but in practice, as Trillium Power Wind Corp. discovered when it sued for $2.25 billion in damages after the Liberals, to quell fierce public opposition to offshore wind turbines prior to a previous election, unilaterally rewrote the rules.

The appeal court had no time for Trillium’s claims, noting that it was “plain and obvious” and “beyond all reasonable doubt” that Trillium could not succeed in arguing breach of contract.

As an analysis of the case by the law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt put it, the appeal court “made it clear that proponents who choose to participate in discretionary government programs, such as Ontario’s renewable energy program, do so primarily at their own risk. Governments may alter the policies that underlie a program, and may even alter or cancel such programs, in a manner that may be fully lawful and immune from civil suit.”

Moreover, the appeal court decision dismissed Trillium’s contention that the government had acted improperly out of “purely political” considerations, rather than out of legitimate public policy considerations.

As Osler explained, governments are free to act in their political interests: “this decision emphasizes that political factors, such as strong public opposition, are legitimate public policy considerations.” These principles aren’t Ontario-specific — they’re fundamental. Throughout Europe, governments are also unilaterally rewriting their unaffordably generous rules governing the renewables industry.

Cancelling Ontario’s odious renewables contracts would immediately and directly lower rates for the province’s citizens and industry, reversing the harm to the provincial economy and improving the government’s prospects in the coming provincial election.

A cancellation would bless the citizens of Ontario — and other provinces —indirectly as well, by disciplining future governments and investors alike. Investors would be leery of participating in future politically motivated government programs that weren’t fundamentally sound, making it difficult for future governments to pursue pet projects that run the risk of harming the citizenry.

Benign government projects — say building a school or hospital — would run no such risk and discourage no investor.

Contracts are sacrosanct between private parties, when they follow the law. Contracts means something else entirely when one party — the government — makes the law and is free to change it. Let the investor beware before getting into bed with government. Let the government think hard about whether its fling with renewables is an affair it wishes to continue.

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe.
Financial Post

digging-a-hole

Donald Trump Tells the Unvarnished Truth About Renewable Energy!

 http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/290093-trump-wind-power-kills-all-your-birds

Donald Trump bashed renewable energy sources Monday night, saying solar power doesn’t work well and wind turbines kill birds.

The GOP presidential nominee has stated his preference for coal and natural gas, and has previously said that solar power is unreliable and wind turbines are unsightly and harmful to wildlife.

“It’s so expensive,” Trump said of alternative energy at a rally in Pennsylvania.“And honestly, it’s not working so good. I know a lot about solar. I love solar. But the payback is what, 18 years? Oh great, let me do it. Eighteen years,” he said, turning to wind power. “The wind kills all your birds. All your birds, killed. You know, the environmentalists never talk about that.”

Solar power has historically been expensive, but its costs have fallen dramatically in recent years.

The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that the cost to install solar panels has dropped by 70 percent since 2009 to just over $2 per watt for photovoltaic technology.

The wind industry has challenged Trump’s previous statements about wildlife deaths, including his contention earlier this year that turbines kill more than a million birds a year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that wind turbines kill about 500,000 birds annually in total, much less than other bird threats like cats and buildings.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has set a goal to expand the country’s solar power capacity sevenfold and generate enough renewable electricity in the United States to power every home by 2027.

At the Pennsylvania rally Monday, Trump also promised to reduce the frequency of coal mine inspections.

“I have friends that own the mines. I mean, they can’t live,” he said.

“The restrictions environmentally are so unbelievable where inspectors come two and three times a day, and they can’t afford it any longer and they’re closing all the mines. … It’s not going to happen anymore, folks. We’re going to use our heads.”

Britts Have Come to Their Senses. When will Everyone Else Wake Up?

UK Elections: Britain’s Deliverance from its Wind Power Disaster

SWITZERLAND-WEF-DAVOS-CAMERON

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Britain’s political betters have set it up for one enormous gamble.  Britain is wagering its entire economic future on its – out of control – wind power debacle.

Back in January last year, The Economist reported on the INSANE cost of delivering offshore wind power – where generators are guaranteed obscene returns – being able to charge “three times the current wholesale price of electricity and about 60% more than is promised to onshore turbines.”

The Economist reported that “offshore wind power is staggeringly expensive” and “among the most expensive ways of marginally reducing carbon emissions known to man”.  But that is merely to compare the insane costs of onshore wind power with the completely insane costs of offshore wind power (see our post here).

Britain’s insane wind power policy has been accompanied with all the usual stuff: an unstable grid, with increased risk of widespread blackouts; subsidy-soaked, institutional corruption; spiralling power costs;splattered birds and bats; and divided and angry rural communities.

With the previous government, Brits were lumbered with the lunatics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change – headed up by Lib-Dem, Ed Davey – who couldn’t tell a reliable Megawatt from his elbow; a ‘team’ wedded to the delusion that Britain could run on millions of giant fans and a whole lot of luck (see our post here).

Now, what a difference a day makes: election day, that is.

Ed Davey lost his seat; the Lib-Dems took a pounding; and Cameron’s Tories have romped over the line with a full-grip on power. And, not only power of the political kind – wind power is about to be squeezed in a manner unthinkable, even a week ago. You see, David Cameron came out on the eve of the election with a very clear set of promises, that spell the beginning of the end for the wind industry in Britain.

‘We’ll scrap funds for windfarms’
County Times
Ben Goddard
7 May 2015

THE PRIME Minister has pledged to stop future government funding to windfarm projects including the delayed inquiry and to give local people the final say – if he is re-elected today.

David Cameron visited Crickhowell on Wednesday when he was quizzed over the delay of any announcement on the results of the Mid Wales Conjoined Wind Farm Inquiry which could see five windfarms built across Powys with each consisting of between 17 and 65 turbines up to 450 feet tall.

The five proposed windfarms, which were the subject of a year long planning inquiry, are proposed to be built at Llandinam, Carnedd Wen, Llaithddu, Llanbrynmair and Llanbadarn Fynydd.

Despite planning inspector Andrew Poulter handing his recommendations to Secretary of State Ed Davey back on December 8, a decision was made to delay any decision until after this week’s General Election.

Mr Cameron pledged to stop the windfarm project and any other on-shore windfarms within Montgomeryshire if he was elected to take a second term in Government.

He said: “You would have to ask the environment secretary who took that decision and that was a decision for him.

“However, I want to make it clear that if there is a Conservative Government in place we will remove all subsidy for on-shore wind and local people should have a greater say.

“Frankly I think we have got enough on-shore wind and we have enough to be going on with, almost 10 per cent of our electricity needs, and I think we should give local people a say if they want to block these sorts of projects.

“The only way to stop more on-shore wind is to vote Conservative there is no other party with this policy. We are saying very clearly we would remove the subsidy and give local people the power to say yes or no.

“This would end the growth of on-shore wind and if that’s what you care about you must vote Conservative.”

Last month a leaked report by the Sunday Telegraph suggested that the inquiry’s planning inspector had advised for three of the five wind turbines to be approved.

Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, welcomed the delay of the inquiry result but said he was shocked if the report had been leaked.

He said: “I would be shocked if the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, or anyone else at DECC, were to have ‘leaked’ to the Sunday Telegraph any decision on the Public Inquiry into windfarms in Mid Wales.

“I’m not in a position to confirm the accuracy or otherwise of the report.

“It would be most improper. This is about the future of Mid Wales, not some grubby political game.

“All I do know is that the inspector’s report was delivered to the Secretary of State on December 8 and that normally a decision could have been expected in early March.

“We also know that DECC has announced that a decision has been delayed for a new Government to decide in early summer.

“I would be disappointed if any of the windfarms are approved but if the Sunday Telegraph report is correct, it would be another big blow to the windfarm developers in Mid Wales in that two of the biggest windfarms would be refused permission.

“Such refusals would further undermine the horribly destructive proposal by National Grid to build a line of massive pylons from North Shropshire to Cefn Coch in Montgomeryshire.

“I have argued that any decision should be delayed, to allow a Secretary of State – other than Liberal Democrat Ed Davey – to consider it.

“If I am re-elected MP for Montgomeryshire, I will seek a further careful consideration of this wind farms/power lines project. It’s financial and environmental madness. It should be abandoned.”

If all five windfarms are approved National Grid has proposed to build a 33-mile pylon route – eight miles of which will be underground from Cefn Coch to near Oswestry – to connect the power generated by the windfarms to the national power grid.
County Times

england somerset

Monte McNaughton…..Best Choice for Victims of Wind Turbines in Ontario! (That’s all of us!)

Ending Ontario’s wind experiment

Credit:  Monte McNaughton MPP | Posted 26 January 2015 | www.netnewsledger.com ~~

How do we ensure that when one government abuses its power, we don’t have to live with the consequences for a generation? Through the supremacy of our democratically elected legislative assembly in Ontario.

In 2009, the Ontario Liberals misused their majority when they stripped municipalities of their long-standing land planning rights in order to impose the wind turbine experiment. They then used executive orders to hand out sole-sourced deals ‎to line the pockets of their wind developer friends. These 20-year deals provide guaranteed pricing to developers for wind power that is above market rates—because wind power cannot be produced in Ontario at reasonable market rates. They also guarantee revenue even when turbines are asked not to produce wind power.

The Ontario Liberals deliberately ignored the interests and wishes of rural Ontario and made all consumers, both urban and rural pay for it—to the tune of $1 billion to $3 billion annually, with increases projected every year. That’s $20 billion to $60 billion over the next two decades. This accounted for only 3.4% of Ontario’s electricity generating capacity, but represented 20% of the total commodity cost of electricity in the province.

And the bad news doesn’t end there—for the last two years, our electricity system has been forced to dump more than double the amount of power generated by wind turbines into other jurisdictions, and at a 75% discount on what we paid to produce it.

Why? Because we are producing more electricity than we need, and because the wind turbines in Ontario produce most of their power during off-peak hours – when we don’t need it all.

And how are the turbines helping the environment? Since wind power is unreliable it requires additional backup power from other generation sources, such as gas-fired generation, which—you guessed it—increases air emissions.

France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain have all had to reverse course on wind power. The reason – the exorbitant costs on consumers with no benefit.

So how do we get out of this mess? If a future government issued another executive order to terminate the McGuinty-Wynne wind power scheme and keep it out of public view, then taxpayers would be on the hook for the entirety of the commitments – as was done by Dalton McGuinty in 2010 with the proposed power plants in Mississauga and Oakville. If, however, the democratically elected legislature passed an explicit statute to end the wind power rip-off, Ontario could determine what compensation, if any, would be paid, and to whom.

Enacting legislation to repeal the Liberal wind power boondoggle is the right way forward. As Premier I will do just that and introduce measures in the legislature to correct this abuse of power by the Ontario Liberals.

Visit http://www.Monte.ca/wind to learn more about McNaughton’s plan to end Ontario’s wind energy experiment, and other issues that are part of his plan for Ontario.

No More Free Ride for Windweasels in the US!

Republican Mid-Term Victory Spells Doom for US Wind Industry

wind_turbine_fire

The US has just been through its mid-term elections, which saw sweeping gains by the Republican Party in the Senate, House, and in many gubernatorial elections, as well as state and local races.

The Republicans gained control of the Senate for the first time since 2006, and increased their majority in the House. The Republicans also gained several seats in governors’ races, defeating one incumbent Democrat and picking up three seats vacated by retiring Democrats. Counting continues with the Republicans set to pick up a number of seats in the House, and, possibly the Senate.

With Republicans firmly in control of Congress, the smooth subsidy-sailing enjoyed by the US wind industry (until now) is about to hit stormy waters.

John Boener, Mitch McConnell

Those US States that piled into wind power in a big way have seen power prices rocket, with some seeing increases of over 34% (Idaho). From 2008-2103, the top 10 wind power states saw their electricity prices rise an average of 20.7%, which is seven-fold higher than the national electricity price increase of merely 2.8% over the same period (see our post here). The cost of wind power is so uncompetitive that Nebraska has just knocked-back a long-term wind power deal because it was “just too expensive” (see our post here).

The adverse economic impacts of propping up the wind industry with exorbitant fixed priced State Feed-In-Tariffs and the Federal Production Tax Credit aren’t lost on Republicans. Here’s a wrap up on where America’s wind industry is headed.

It May be Lights Out for the Wind Industry Come the Midterms
FOXBusiness
Chris Versace
27 October 2014

The International Energy Agency recently cut its forecasts for oil demand growth for this year. Nevertheless, production in North America is exploding led by the shale oil boom. Already, the U.S. has become the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas.

For energy products like oil and natural gas operating in the marketplace, this excess production means lower costs for consumers. Lower prices have their own consequences for the industry as well. Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co recently released a report revealing that current at prices as much as one-third of U.S. shale oil production will be “uneconomic” to harvest.

For government-backed industries such as wind energy, the relationship is directly the opposite – the more they produce, the more it costs ratepayers and taxpayers. Recent analysis shows that states with the largest use of wind power have the highest electricity bills. Such factors have caused private investors to largely bypass wind companies and leave them largely dependent upon the government for their survival.

Wind energy companies rely heavily upon a government construct known as the “Production Tax Credit” (PTC) to support their bottom lines. The PTC is a federal program that provides billions of dollars annually to subsidize renewable energy facilities such as wind farms. Generally speaking a clean technology facility receives a tax credit for 10 years after the date the facility is placed in service with the tax credit amount ranging from $0.23 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for wind to $0.011 per kWh for qualified hydroelectric.

Looking at the International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing, researchers concluded that “in terms of cumulative energy payback, or the time to produce the amount of energy required of production and installation, a wind turbine with a working life of 20 years will offer a net benefit within five to eight months of being brought online.” This raises the question as to why any tax credit for wind energy would span more than just a few years at most let alone 10 years after the facility is up and running.

Congressional support for the PTC is largely split along party lines. Fifty-five Members of the House led by Rep. Mike Pompeo, (R-Kan.), have written a letter to the tax writing committee demanding an end to the wind energy subsidies. The letter stated:

We offer our full support of the current process undertaken by the House Committee on Ways and Means that will allow the most anti-competitive and economically harmful tax provisions, specifically the wind energy production tax credit (PTC), to expire. Ensuring that our nation’s patchwork tax code undergoes significant reform is a noble goal and, as part of this process, we believe Congress should stop picking winners and losers and finally end the wind PTC.”

It is presumed that a GOP controlled Congress would see the PTC on the chopping block in 2015 and a Democrat-controlled Congress will fight for renewal.

It would be an understatement to say that the outcome of the 2014 elections is important for wind energy producers. In an effort to see PTC friendly Harry Reid as Majority Leader, the wind industry has essentially turned the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) into their own personal Trojan horse.

Much of the LCV leadership has deep ties to the wind energy:

  • Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) serves as the Treasure of the LCV.
  • Peter Mandelstam, former AWEA board member and founder of Green Sails wind energy company also serves on the LCV board.

Unsurprisingly, much of the LCV’s campaign activities have been aimed squarely at renewal of the PTC. The organization brags that it will spend over $25 million supporting pro PTC candidates and attacking their opponents before November elections.

Should LCV’s campaign fail, loss of the PTC could prove fatal to some wind companies. As Warren Buffet recently told his loyal investors, “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

The outcome of the elections remain far from certain as does the fate of the PTC under any election outcome scenario and Washington D.C.’s capacity for cronyism should never be underestimated.

That said, it should leave investors holding off if not second-guessing the potential of First Trust ISE Global Wind Energy ETF (FAN) shares or its holdings that include Capstone Turbine Holdings (CPST), Otter Tail Corp. (OTTR), NextEra Energy (NEE) and others. Especially if the Republicans take control of Congress as expected, and run a full tally of their friends and enemies during this election cycle, it may well be lights out for the wind energy industry sooner than anyone expects.
FOXBusiness

storm tossed ship

Great Election! Republicans Are More Likely to Be Co-operative With Canada!

Lawrence Solomon: Democrats’ loss is Canada’s gain

(November 6, 2014) It’s too late now for Obama and the Democrats to impose policies harmful to Canada.

This article, by Lawrence Solomon, first appeared in the National Post on November 6, 2014

Democrats lost big in the U.S. mid-term elections this week. Republicans won big. And Canada also won big, as in big sigh of relief. Canada is a winner less because of what Republicans will now do than because of what a president in search of a legacy-with-the-left can’t do.

Number One on the Obama Can’t-Do list involves carbon taxes or other global warming measures that could set back Canada’s economy. In a far-sighted move the day after Obama won the presidency six years ago, a prescient Prime Minister Harper tied Canada’s global warming policies to those of the United States. This stratagem — justified by the need to harmonize policies with our largest trading partner — extricated Canada from economically harmful pledges to cut back on our own emissions, unburdening our economy and helping us storm past the 2008 financial crisis better than any other G8 country.

Harper — thought to be a closet climate skeptic — took a calculated risk that paid off in spades. The Obama administration failed to pass global warming legislation while it controlled Congress and by 2010, when the Democrats lost the House of Representatives, it was too late — climate skeptic Republicans wouldn’t saddle America, and by extension, Canada, with global warming legislation. Now it is also too late for Obama to otherwise bind Canada. Though Obama may follow through on threats to act on climate change through regulatory decrees, these would be temporary scattershots from a diminished lame duck that Canada could slough off. Canada has dodged the climate change bullet.

Number Two on the Obama Can’t-Do List is trade protectionism, a favourite among many Democrats including Obama, who first won election on a pledge to reopen NAFTA on environmental and labour grounds. Various “Buy American” trade bills recently introduced in Congress, such as the “Made in the U.S.A. Act” sponsored by Democratic Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, are now dead. Pryor is among the Democrats that voters just tossed out of Washington.

Number Three: Canada can also breathe a big sigh of relief that free spending Democrats are now reined in. Obama’s exploding of the national debt — by the time he’s done, it may have doubled to $20-trillion — has destabilized Western economies, making everyone fearful of inflation and curbing the private sector investment needed for economic growth. Republicans not only took the Senate, they so bolstered their majority in the House of Representatives, where spending bills originate, that Democrats have likely lost the ability to spend federal dollars for decades to come — gerrymandered House districts make it difficult for incumbents to lose.

More welcome sighs come in at the state level, where the mid-term elections toppled several governors in traditionally Democratic states. Restraint-minded Republican governors are now in charge in more than 30 states, good augers for pro-growth policies in our largest trading partner.

Canada could benefit from more than relief from Democratic harms. Republicans are likely to pursue policies that would positively help our economy, most notably by passing legislation that would force Obama to accept, or veto, the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project that has been under review longer than the Second World War.

Pundits are betting that Obama will finally approve Keystone, both to chalk up an accomplishment for what is now an almost non-existent legacy and to please the unions, the many Democrats and the general public that favour it. To give Obama a fig leaf, the pundits expect Harper to throw in a concession on climate change.

But the pundits could be wrong. Obama has betrayed most of his constituents through broken promises — unions for his failure to deliver jobs and, ironically, because Obamacare is destroying the 40-hour work week; youth for the NSA spying on them; Latinos on his failure to implement immigration reform; peaceniks for his drone attacks and America’s reentry into Iraq. Approving Keystone would add to this string the one cause he has served passably well — environmentalism, whose backers include the Hollywood crowd that mostly remains in his thrall. His legacy with those who count to him could only be kept by chucking Keystone.

But even chucking Keystone could now be too late for Obama. He has become such a liability to his party that few Democratic politicians have a strong allegiance to him and many would fear losing their seats in the next election if they were seen to side with him. If Obama vetoed a bill to proceed with Keystone, the two-thirds majority required to override his veto might materialize.

Lawrence Solomon is the executive director of Energy Probe.

If We Had More Politicians Like This One, We Could Have True Democracy

New post on lsarc

No Challenge, No Democracy

by lsarc

Herewith a statement by Terry Mokriy, formerly a council candidate and now a Grey Highlands Council member who got top votes out of all 14 candidates running.

We feel it is well worth sharing as his comments are particularly appropriate given what many have all felt and experienced over the past 10 to 12 years.

Please share.

Below is Terry’s statement in full:

“Years of experience in government and public service arenas have left an indelible mark on my world view and psyche.

Federally, I was the Youth, Education, and Ontario Chair for a cross Canada national council dealing with Multiculturalism. We reported directly, and made recommendations, to the Federal Minister of Multiculturalism. I had the opportunity to travel across Canada and meet, conference with, and listen to many groups and individuals. Our mandate was to make recommendations to the Minister and Cabinet. I also wrote and delivered speeches for, and on behalf of, the Minister. That was my first foray into political and bureaucratic frustration.

I have also served as a Federal Riding Association President, Canvass Chair, Campaign Chair, and Treasurer of a GTA wide political association comprised of some 63 ridings. I had the chance to work with, support and meet a wide range of politicians and politicos, some who were movers and shakers and some not.

At the provincial level, I was actively involved as a Campaign Chair, advisor to elected politicians, campaign strategist, and speech and pamphlet writer.

That being said these experiences have led me to my present state. I consider myself to be philosophically and politically a realist with, what could be considered, strong populist tendencies. That is why I volunteered to help establish and Chair the South East Grey Community Health Centre in Markdale. I believe in, what the Americans refer to as, “government for the people”. That is not what the current trends appear to be.

Today’s governments, especially at the political party levels, often times seem to serve, not the electorate, but their own interests. This trend has been years in its development. I witnessed it in Ottawa when bureaucratic and party priorities took precedence over the obvious needs, concerns and wishes of the people.

The past provincial government of Ontario took this self interest to its zenith. We need not discuss the examples for they are obvious.

It is now even harder not to become more cynical vis a vis political institutions which are increasingly less interested in the “common good” and more in political and party expedience. Government is supposed to be for the people and is supposed to aid, provide for and assist. It is to expedite a common quality of life and ease the experience of the community. Instead, it has become more and more intrusive, invasive and dictatorial, taking into account vested interests and hidden political and personal agendas.

The Municipal level of government has, willingly or not, become the last bastion of true democracy. It is the place where people can directly interact with government. It is the arena in which the democratic principals of “what is right for the people” can still hold sway.

We can and must continue to involve ourselves and participate. We must not fall into apathy or complacency for that will be the death knell of democracy. That apathy can take the form of simply agreeing to, ignoring, or accepting without question. We need to stop simply shrugging our shoulders saying, “What can I do about it? The decision has already been made”.

I have witnessed government, both political and bureaucratic, in action. I have seen how decisions are made and what influence personal, party and political agendas have in the process and the outcomes. People, individuals and groups, make decisions and people, individuals and groups, must continue to question and challenge those decisions.

We must continue to ask the question, “Why?” If there is no reasonable answer forthcoming then we should not simply acquiesce because, “They said so!”.

If there is no one to question and to challenge then there truly is no democracy.”

Ontario’s Folly…..What a Complete Waste of Taxpayer Dollars!

 That glare coming off selected southern Ontario farmlands these days is not the result of some secret state experiment with atomic vegetables. No, it’s the product of another form of state-sanctioned mad science that is costing Ontarians dearly without doing diddly to improve the environment.

After Germany and California, Ontario is “enjoying” its day in the sun as a global hot spot for solar power. Photovoltaic panels are carpeting fertile and fallow farmlands at a furious rate this summer as solar power promoters rush to complete projects before the subsidy gusher slows.

By the end of 2015, more than 2,000 megawatts of solar power will be connected to the Ontario grid as developers take advantage of the province’s feed-in-tariff, guaranteeing them a heady two-decade return on their investment, courtesy of the weary Ontario electricity consumer.

The newly re-elected Liberal government scaled down the FIT program last year, but not before a small group of savvy operators hit the sweet spot by locking into its risk-free cash flow. One 10MW solar farm under construction in eastern Ontario’s cottage country will get 44 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity it produces over 20 years.

Compare that to the average 8.55 cents per kWh that Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator says it cost to produce power in the province in 2013. The price includes a wholesale price of 2.65 cents (what the power was actually worth on the open market) and a so-called “global adjustment” of 5.9 cents to cover the sunk costs in existing nuclear, hydro and wind projects.

No other province has imitated Ontario’s folly. No wonder the solar lobby worked so hard to re-elect Premier Kathleen Wynne in the June election. The opposition Progressive Conservatives vowed to pull the plug on Liberal FIT contracts that will further burden the province’s already uncompetitive manufacturers and saddle consumers with a 50 per cent rate hike within a decade.

Solar power is not the only culprit. Far more FIT-contracted wind power will be added to the grid. Together, these contracts demonstrate the madness of Ontario’s so-called green energy policy. Not only will it cost more, it won’t remove much if any carbon from the atmosphere.

The biggest myth about wind and solar power is that they automatically displace carbon dioxide produced by coal- or gas-fired power plants. Solar power producers consistently make this claim without any proof to back it up. Quite often, the opposite is true.

Take Ontario, which counts on baseload nuclear power for 60 per cent of its installed electricity capacity. Nuclear produces no carbon emissions. Neither does the hydro power that accounts for about one-quarter of Ontario’s capacity. On many days, demand in Ontario isn’t high enough to require power from additional sources. But when it is, wind and solar can’t be counted on.

Quite simply, neither wind nor solar are reliable sources of electricity. In its latest 18-month outlook, the IESO forecasts that 99.5 per cent of Ontario’s 12,947 MW of installed nuclear capacity will be available during summer consumption peaks. But it predicts only 13.7 per cent of the 1,824 MW of installed wind capacity will be available. Solar is even less reliable. So, when wind and solar actually do produce power, it’s usually dumped.

To meet consumption peaks, Ontario’s grid operator needs a dependable supply of complementary power. In the past, that came from coal plants, which could be fired up on an as-needed basis. Thankfully, they’ve all been closed and replaced by natural gas-fired plants.

Natural gas is still a fossil fuel, but its carbon footprint is half or less that of coal. And modern combined-cycle gas plants are so efficient, reliable and cheap to build (relative to other forms of electricity) that Charles Frank of the centrist Brookings Institution calls them, along with nuclear power, “the ‘best bang for our buck’ as we seek to reduce emissions.”

“A nuclear or gas combined-cycle plant avoids far more emissions per MW of capacity than wind or solar because it can operate at 90 per cent of full capacity,” Mr. Frank notes in a new study. “Limited benefits and higher costs make wind and solar less socially valuable than nuclear, hydro and combined-cycle gas.”

Add in the alarmingly high failure rate of solar panels, the absence of a long-term track record, and the quashing of local content rules and the outcome of Ontario’s sunny experiment could be even darker than it looks.

Follow Konrad Yakabuski on Twitter: @konradyakabuski

Liberals Hide the Truth about Bloated Taxpayer-funded Pensions!

Liberals sat on report critical of bloated pensions in hydro sector

Kathleen Wynne government’s is being ripped for sitting on report critical of bloated pensions in hydro sector since before the June 12 election.

 
 
A report critical of bloated, taxpayer-funded pensions in the hydro sector was written by Jim Leech, a former head of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

COLIN MCCONNELL / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

A report critical of bloated, taxpayer-funded pensions in the hydro sector was written by Jim Leech, a former head of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

 

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government is being ripped for keeping secret a report critical of bloated, taxpayer-funded pensions in the hydro sector since well before the June 12 election that lifted the Liberals to a majority.

The 45-page study into Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One, the Electrical Safety Authority and Independent Electricity System Operator recommends dramatically lower public contributions to “generous, expensive and inflexible” retirement schemesposing a “significant risk” to electricity prices.

At Hydro One, for example, taxpayers have been contributing an average of $5 for every $1 from employees, far higher than most civil service and private sector pension plans. Two-thirds of Ontarians have no workplace pension plan.

The report is dated March 18 and was posted on the Ministry of Finance website Friday on the eve of the Civic Holiday long weekend.

“This is awfully suspect,” said Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli, his party’s finance critic, questioning Wynne’s oft-stated goal of running an “open and transparent” government.

“There was ample opportunity to release this document with good public scrutiny. What are they hiding? What didn’t they want us to know?”

NDP pensions critic Jennifer French (Oshawa) said the Liberals “have been sitting in this report for five months.”

Government officials said they had intended to make the report public after Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s May 1 budget — which was rejected by opposition parties, forcing the election — and that posting it without fanfare was an oversight.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said the late release of the report is a blow to Wynne’s credibility as she pushes forward with an Ontario Registered Pension Plan (ORPP) for citizens without workplace pensions.

“Why now, why not before the election so people would have known what’s happening?” said Plamen Petkov, whose lobby group opposes the ORPP as too expensive.

“We’re very worried to see government agencies where employees are paying only 20 cents on the dollar for their pensions when taxpayers pay the other 80 cents. No wonder the government itself expects electricity prices to go up 42 per cent over the next five years,” he told the Star.

“It’s really disappointing. We recommend the government clean its own house first before they ask employers to contribute $3.5 billion a year to the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.”

The report was written by Jim Leech, a former head of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan appointed last December to find ways of making electricity sector pension plans more affordable as the government struggles to eliminate a $12.5 billion deficit by 2018.

“The pensions are generous,” he concluded, noting benefits are “very close” to the maximum allowable under the Income Tax Act, “richer than most of the broader public service plans and employee contributions are also lower.”

For example, the Ontario Power Authority’s pension plan has a 50/50 employer/employee contribution ratio — a level that Leech recommends be reached within five years.

His report provides “advice on a roadmap and potential destination that is both affordable and financially sustainable,” said Beckie Codd-Downey, spokeswoman for Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli.

“The government will be reviewing the report in consultation with union representatives to assess the recommendations.”

Pensions will be subject to collective bargaining between the electricity agencies and their employees.

Will the Republicans Hold Obama Accountable for Presidential Overreach?

 

House Republicans authorize lawsuit against Obama for presidential overreach.

 

President Barack Obama speaks about the economy, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

House Republicans voted Wednesday evening to authorize an unprecedented lawsuit against President Obama, escalating a separation of powers battle between Congress and the White Housethat is heavily tinged with election-year politics.

Mr. Obama mocked Republicans, telling them to “stop just hatin’ all the time,” but GOP lawmakers said they felt boxed in, being unable to get their legislation through the Democrat-controlled Senate and having to watch as the president tweaks, waives or ignores laws Congress has written but which he dislikes.


SEE ALSO: HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP


“This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats; it’s about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold and acting decisively when it might be compromised,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, as he pleaded for Democrats to look beyond their party allegiance and defend Congress against an ever more powerful chief executive. “Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change?”

The 225-201 vote, which broke down almost entirely along party lines, was a resounding rejection of Mr. Boehner’s call, as Democrats said Republicans were more interested in repealing Obamacare and stopping the president’s agenda.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, the chamber’s top Democrat, said she could see no reason for the Republican effort unless it’s a precursor for impeachment.

“Why would you sue somebody unless you want to prove something? And why would you go down that path unless you wanted to do something about it?” Mrs. Pelosi said. “Middle-class families don’t have time for the Republican partisan grudge match with the president.”

Mr. Boehner a day earlier said there were no plans to pursue impeachment and that Democrats are the only ones talking about impeachment because it’s a successful fundraising tactic for them.

Mrs. Pelosi, though, said Mr. Boehner must officially rule impeachment “off the table” — a phrase she used when she squelched efforts by her fellow Democrats to impeach President George W. Bush.


SEE ALSO: Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’


The details of the lawsuit itself were almost an afterthought, but under the resolution passed Wednesday, House attorneys can be directed to file suit challenging Mr. Obama’s decision to issue waivers of his own health care law’s “employer mandate,” which was supposed to require large companies to provide insurance for their employees or else face fines.

Mr. Obama waived the fines for 2014, then expanded his waiver to include 2015 and 2016.

Mr. Boehner said House Republicans support waiving those fines, which is why it’s all the more strange that Mr. Obama acted alone, without coming to Congress to change the law. He said that situation is why Republicans chose to sue over Obamacare rather than a host of other perceived overreaches including those involving environmental and immigration policies.

The lawsuit’s chances for success are questionable.

Legal analysts said the biggest hurdle will be overcoming the federal courts’ rules requiring a plaintiff to show harm before the judges will hear the case. Institutional harm to Congress‘ constitutional powers generally has been rejected as a sufficient reason.

But some analysts said it’s an open question for the Supreme Court — and they argue Mr. Obama’s overreach has been so dramatic that judges might be tempted to get involved in order to rebalance the two other branches of government.

Speaking in Kansas City, Missouri, hours before the vote, Mr. Obama taunted Republicans, asking them to forgo the lawsuit and instead back his agenda of raising the minimum wage, boosting spending on infrastructure and other steps he said would help the middle class.

“Come on and help out a little bit. Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hatin’ all the time,” the president told a raucous crowd. “Come on. Let’s get some work done together.”

Minutes after Wednesday’s vote, the White House sent out an email to supporters vowing to take more executive action — this time issuing a policy laying out stiffer worker safety rules for federal contractors.

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer also said in the email that Mr. Obama will “deal with our broken immigration system in the months ahead.”

Mr. Obama, who had some legislative successes in his first two years in office, backed by huge majorities in both the House and Senate, has grown increasingly frustrated since 2011, when Republicans took control of the House and began trying to roll back his policies.

With Democrats still controlling the Senate, that’s often led to gridlock on Capitol Hill — and Mr. Obama has enthusiastically claimed the right to take action on his own when Congress won’t.

Judges have taken a dim view of some of those actions. Last month a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that he overstepped when he made recess appointments to four key positions at a time when the Senate was meeting every three days in pro forma sessions specifically to deny him his recess powers.

Mr. Obama had argued that the Senate wasn’t really in session, but all nine justices rejected that, saying it’s up to Congress to decide those matters.

All Democrats who voted Wednesday opposed the lawsuit, as did five Republicans: Reps. Paul C. Broun of Georgia, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Steve Stockman of Texas.

“This lawsuit is merely an act of political theater that is highly unlikely to result in any real consequences for an executive branch that continues to display a blatant disregard for the rule of law,” Mr. Jones said in a statement.

He said rather than sue, the House should either impeach Mr. Obama or use its power of the purse to cancel Mr. Obama’s actions.

Both sides are expected to use Wednesday’s vote as they gin up their base ahead of November’s elections.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/30/house-votes-sue-president-obama-over-claims-presid/#ixzz390sFVp1Q
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