Discussion on Why Energy Costs in America, Are So High!

NATIONAL CENTER FOR POLICY ANALYSIS

President Obama Keeps Energy Costs High

While Obama has not yet been able to stop the fracking technology that is producing an American oil and natural gas boom on private and state owned lands, he has sharply constricted exploration and development on the extensive federally-owned lands and offshore. That is why gasoline prices have doubled since he became President.

The Heritage Foundation explains that under Obama’s policies, the EPA’s:

Proposed limits for carbon dioxide emissions essentially would prohibit the construction of new coal-fired power plants, and force existing ones into early retirement, driving up the cost of energy on American families and businesses.

Then there is Obama’s indefinite hold up of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would simply transport, at no cost to taxpayers, abundant, low cost Canadian oil and natural gas to American Gulf Coast refineries, assuring American access to low cost, reliable oil and gas supplies. But if Canada cannot sell to America through the Keystone pipeline, then they will sell the oil and gas to our emerging rival in China, through pipelines on the Canadian west coast. These policies would deprive America of 50,000 high paying jobs not only for construction of the extensive pipeline networks, but also for the budding boom and rebirth of American manufacturing and associated higher paying blue collar jobs, which the revival of low cost, reliable American energy supplies is producing.

The Heritage Foundation further explains that “higher energy prices shrink production and consumption, resulting in less income for families, more people in the unemployment line and less economic growth.” All of this means that Obama is on track for increasing electricity and other energy costs that are the inevitable result of a constricted supply of low cost, reliable, American energy.

– See more at: http://environmentblog.ncpa.org/president-obama-keeps-energy-costs-high/#sthash.iy1mLXmu.dpuf

Aussies Axe the Carbon Tax! Finally! It’s Gone!

Carbontax_tombstoneAn ill-fated foray that never made much sense

Guest opinion by Phillip Hutchings

With perhaps a few more grandstanding shenanigans in our Federal Senate this week, Australia’s two-year experiment with a Carbon Tax will soon end. Legislation to kill the tax, which was brought in by the left-leaning Labor-Greens coalition in mid-2012, is now being finalised by our one year-old conservative Government.

 

That carbon tax has cost three prime ministerships, confused the voting population, and achieved pretty much nothing. Other market dynamics have been far more important in changing Australia’s greenhouse emissions, yet it’s politically insensitive to mention them.

The sanctimoniousness of such a tax in Australia is breathtaking. We are an energy heavy-weight, the world’s largest exporter of coal. Soon we will also be the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. At the same time as our Labor prime ministers were being successively culled by infighting over the carbon tax, the world’s biggest oil & gas companies were directing more than two-thirds of global investment in LNG production into Australia, the biggest investment boom ever in this country.

We are an economy built on the world’s hunger for fossil fuels. Yet with our gas and coal sources being either offshore or in remote locations, these vital export industries are mostly hidden from Australian voters.

The carbon tax itself was a lightweight. The theory underlying a carbon tax is to provide a long term price signal to drive a change in the industrial and consumer behaviour. On this score, the Australian tax was doomed to failure. After all, politically it had to appeal to the latte-sipping lefties, but without affecting their wallets.

The outcome – a watered-down policy that was all noise and no effect.

To minimise the economic fall-out, the Labor-Green Government limited the carbon tax to large industrial emitters (more than 25,000 CO2e/yr). Road transport and agriculture was exempt. Put together, that meant only about 185 companies in Australia’s US$ 1.5 trillion economy had to comply. And even those few were only lightly touched.

Industries which are “trade exposed” such as cement or aluminium smelting were mostly excused. They got either 66% or 94.5% of their carbon cost covered by the award of free units.

Just over one-third of Australia’s carbon emissions come from coal-fired electricity generators. And the dirtiest electricity comes from the aging brown-coal plants in Victoria – with almost double the emissions of modern gas-fired plants. Yet being located in a Labor-voting union heartland, they too got off lightly with the first half of their emissions effectively carbon- tax free. Nice.

None of which gave much incentive at all for carbon reduction. It’s hard to see any evidence at all of industries making long term investments in lower carbon-emitting factories or generating plants.

The domestic airlines got slugged with an extra 6 c/litre fuel excise, surely as crude a carbon tax as you can get. How was that supposed to reduce emissions? Yep, sure, aircraft fleets get renewed over time, and you bet, fuel efficiency is a factor when selecting alternative aircraft. But a surcharge on fuel itself was not going to change Qantas’ emissions.

So as a policy instrument, Australia’s carbon tax was never going to change emissions itself. It was a neutered program, raising Government revenue but not effective in changing behaviour.

https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/clip_image0024.png?w=640

Source – Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: December 2013 Australia’s National Greenhouse Account

Yet, Australia’s greenhouse emissions have been declining for almost eight years. After decades of steady increase, that pause in carbon emissions since 2007 is striking. And it started six years before the carbon tax was implemented. It’s pretty easy to find the main reason for that – a steady fall in national electricity consumption. Latest figures show that Australia’s electricity use is at the lowest level since 2006. And with three-quarters of Australia’s electricity coming from carbon-intensive coal-fired sources, the fall in electricity use has led directly to a pause in carbon emissions.

But what caused Australian consumers to wind back their power use over the past eight years? Simple price elasticity, that’s what. There’s been huge investment in the network, the poles and wires to deliver (as opposed to generate) electricity. In most states, that led to a doubling of retail electricity prices. And yes, consumers did respond to that price signal, changing from electrical profligacy to parsimony. Nothing to do with the carbon tax, it was the regulated electricity supply industry recouping their capital investment.

What did we learn from this? The theory behind a carbon tax works fine – provide a price signal, and the consumer responds. It’s just that in this case, it was nothing to do with the carbon tax and all to do with regulated utilities doubling power prices as they caught up on network investment.

Here’s another little perverse change. Some years ago, I helped a fledgling gas producer negotiate a long term gas sales contract for electricity generation. The customer was a state Government-owned electricity generator, then setting up a new flagship and clean gas-fired generation plant. That helped shift the state’s generation sources ten years ago away from dirty coal, and into cleaner gas.

Yet earlier this year, that generator announced the closure of its gas generation in favour of dirtier coal generation. The reason? With three large export LNG plants now being commissioned for export, that gas is worth more for sale to China than for powering my fridge. In effect, a state Government snubbed its nose at the intent, let alone the price signal, from the Federal carbon tax.

So as a policy instrument, Australia’s carbon tax has been a failure. It never could have worked. And politically, it’s been a graveyard. Let’s hope politicians and bureaucrats from more enlightened jurisdictions study it and learn.

Australia’s carbon tax – no wonder it’s about to be buried.

Could This Be the Dawning of Better Days for the UK? End the Greenscam~!

UK’s new energy and environment ministers opposed green energy

Matthew Hancock called for cuts to wind power subsidies while Liz Truss claimed renewable power was damaging the economy…

Britain's new minister for energy, nusiness and enterprise, Matthew Hancock at 10 Downing Street  on July 15, 2014.
Britain’s new minister for energy, business and enterprise, Matthew Hancock, at 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

The new set of Conservative environment and energy ministers announced on Tuesday bring a track record of opposing renewable energy, having fought against wind and solar farms, enthusiastically backed fracking and argued that green subsidies damage the economy.

New energy minister, Matthew Hancock, signed a letter to David Cameron in 2012 demanding that subsidies for onshore windfarms were slashed. “I support renewable energy but we need to do it in a way that gives the most value for money and that does not destroy our natural environment,” he said at the time.

Hancock, who takes over from Michael Fallon, also opposed new turbines in his Suffolk constituency, arguing: “The visual and other impact of the proposed turbines is completely unacceptable in this attractive rural corner of Suffolk.”

New environment secretary and former Shell employee, Liz Truss, dismissed clean renewable energy as “extremely expensive” and said it was damaging the economy during an appearance on BBC Question Time last October.

“We do need to look at the green taxes because at the moment they are incentivising particular forms of energy that are extremely expensive,” she said. “I would like to see the rolling back of green taxes because it is wrong that we are implementing green taxes faster than other countries. We may be potentially exporting jobs out of the country as our energy is so expensive.”

In 2009, as deputy director of the free-market thinktank Reform, Truss said energy infrastructure in Britain was being damaged by politicians’ obsession with green technology: “Vast amounts of taxpayers’ money are being spent subsidising uneconomic activity,” she said. Research from the London School of Economics recently concluded that green policies were not harming economic growth.

Truss will have a key role in regulating the environmental safety of shale gas exploration and has said fracking would benefit people living nearby. “We need to make sure shale gas is being exploited in this country, which will benefit local communities,” she said on BBC Question Time. As well as fracking, Truss backed “renewable” nuclear power as a way to “hit green targets”.

In her first statement since being appointed as environment secretary, Truss said: “I look forward to tackling the important issues facing our rural communities including championing British food, protecting people from flooding and improving the environment.” She did not mention fracking or the controversial badger cull, which she has supported in parliamentary votes.

Truss, Hancock and another new appointee to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, all face conflicts between their new ministerial responsibilities and their previous constituency work.

Truss has spoken out about insufficient flood protection for farmland in her Norfolk South West constituency. But she is now responsible for flood defences and faces a £500m hole in the budget needed to keep pace with the rising flood risk being driven by climate change.

Truss has also been a vocal opponent of an energy-from-waste project – an incinerator – at Kings Lynn. She has opposed solar farms being built and also complained the energy secretary Ed Davey that subsidies helping crops to used to generate energy was making straw difficult to get for pig farmers.

One of the most contentious issues Truss faces will be over the badger
cull. Her East Anglian constituency is far from the bovine TB hotspots in
the west of the UK, but she has been keenly involved in rural issues – for
instance, she is pro-hunting.

Lord Krebs, chair of the sub-group of the Committee on Climate Change that
looks at adaptation to the effects of global warming, said at a meeting of
the all-party environment group in Westminster on Tuesday that he would
wait for a private conversation with Truss before advising her on that.

But he did say that he would offer his advice on badgers and bovine TB – a
subject which the prominent zoologist examined in detail for the previous
Labour government, finding that a cull was not likely to solve the
problem.

He told the Guardian: “I would say don’t be so focused on killing badgers
(as a way of controlling the disease) but go back and look at all the
policy options.”

Hancock has opposed both windfarms and new housing developments, while Rudd has raised her constituents safety fears about the Dungeness nuclear power plant in her constituency. Rudd, whose represents the coastal constituency of Hastings and Rye, has been praised by campaigners for supporting sustainable fishing and has raised questions about how government energy efficiency programmes would help social housing.

The Renewable Energy Association said it looked forward to working with Truss, Hancock and Rudd. The trade body’s chief executive, Dr Nina Skorupska, said of the outgoing Greg Barker, who Rudd replaces: “Not only did he bring stability to the department, he also brought passion and enthusiasm.”

Truss, Hancock and Rudd appear not to have made any public statements about climate change.

The Only Dangerous Climate Change….is the Political Climate! Liberalism is Killing Us!

Cuomo says ‘we don’t get tornadoes’ in NY, but we’ve had at least 417

 
Glenn Coin | gcoin@syracuse.comBy Glenn Coin | gcoin@syracuse.com 
 
on July 15, 2014 at 11:01 AM, updated July 15, 2014 at 12:08 PM
 

Syracuse, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters last week that the rare deadly tornado that struck Madison County on July 8 was part of a “new normal” of extreme weather.

“We don’t get tornadoes in New York, right? Anyone will tell you that,” Cuomo said at a news conference July 8 in Smithfield, where the tornado struck. “Well, we do now.”

In fact, we always have.

Since the federal government started keeping a tally in 1950, New York has had at least 417 tornadoes. That’s an average of seven per year.

“For him to say we don’t get tornadoes in New York was incorrect,” said Scott Steiger, a SUNY Oswego meteorology professor. “He didn’t do his homework. Severe weather has happened in New York for a long time.”

 

 

Tornado in Madison CountyBarbara Watson of the National Weather Service says a tornado hit Madison County town of Smithfield on July 8, 2014. Four people were killed.

New York has averaged seven tornadoes a year since 1950. The number was about five a year before 1990, and has been about 10 per year since then.

The increase could be because more tornadoes are happening or simply that more are being reported.

“Are we seeing more events or are we just knowing more about the events that we didn’t know about before?” asked Bill Bunting, operations chief at the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma. “I would say probably we don’t know, but a lot of it’s the reporting.”

Bunting said that smart phones and social media have made it easier for people to send evidence of tornadoes to researchers. The National Weather Service, for example,confirmed a tornado on Sunday after being sent pictures and video over Facebook.

“In my 29 years with the National Weather Service, it’s become a lot easier for us to become aware of events,” Bunting said.

The weather service has confirmed eight tornadoes in New York so far this year.

Even if more tornadoes are hitting New York, it’s not clear that’s because of climate change. Tornadoes are caused by a complicated set of factors, including thunderstorms loaded with moisture, and wind shear in the upper atmosphere.

While climate change would be expected to increase the instability of those storms, Bunting said, it might also be expected to reduce wind shear.

“The evidence that looks into whether or not severe thunderstorms or tornadoes will increase in a warming world is inconclusive,” he said.

Because the numbers of tornadoes is relatively low in New York, and because so many can pop up at the same time, the statistics fluctuate widely from year to year.
There were just four tornadoes in 2012, but 23 the year before.

Tornadoes are spawned from heavy thunderstorms that sweep across the region, so they tend to come in batches. The Smithfield tornado was the strongest of five that struck New York on July 8. On May 31, 1998, New York had 13 tornadoes.

New York’s tornadoes tend to be less intense and long-lasting than those on the plains. Tornadoes are rated on the Enhanced Fujita scale from zero to 5. New York tends to get storms from EF-0 to EF-2. The Smithfield tornado was at the top end of an EF-2, with wind speeds of 135 mph. The biggest one in New York this year was an EF-3, which hit May 23 in Warren County.

The last death from a tornado in New York before last week was September 2010, when one person was killed in Queens.

You can search our database for all New York tornadoes since 1950:

Search tips:
– Want to see all the tornadoes? Hit search without entering any search terms.
– If second search turns up nothing, make sure you cleared search terms in earlier search.
– You can search for the county or community two ways: Either enter the county or the community name. Or you can use the dropdowns.

Trudeau Set To Impose Carbon Taxes….Just say NO!

 
LORNE GUNTER - Trudeau's carbon tax will hurt Canada's economy

LIBERAL LEADER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

Credits: REUTERS/Todd Korol

 

LORNE GUNTER | EDMONTON SUN

“Carbon pricing” is simply a euphemism for “carbon tax.”

When a politician talks about establishing a price on carbon in the name of stopping global warming (as federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau frequently does), what he really means is he wants to tax oil production, manufacturing and private vehicle use in the hope that by punishing energy companies, manufacturers and drivers he can force them to reduce their emissions.

However, no market exists for carbon emissions except where governments force companies to buy or sell “carbon credits.” Therefore, there is no such thing as a natural “carbon price.” The concept is entirely artificial.

Admittedly, Europe has a carbon exchange, but it’s not a real marketplace like a stock exchange. It wouldn’t exist if the EU’s commissioners hadn’t dictated that companies put a price on their emissions and pay extra for emissions above their mandated limits.

Even after all of that, the price for a tonne of carbon on the European exchange is a fraction of what EU planners projected it would be. The only people who make money consistently are clever profiteers who have learned how to apply for “green” subsidies. And the whole thing is prone to corruption.

That is what Justin Trudeau wants for Canada.

But Trudeau’s idea gets worse. He wants Canada to be a role model for the world by adopting a price on carbon even if our major competitors don’t do the same.

The Americans don’t have a price on carbon. Nor do the Chinese, or the Australians or the Russians.

On energy and mineral exports, the Europeans aren’t really our competitors. So the fact they have a fake price on their carbon doesn’t really matter.

Trudeau’s thinking on most issues is strained when it gets past Twitter’s limit of 140 characters. But it seems especially shallow on this matter.

Why in heaven’s name would Trudeau the Younger want to add any burdens to Canada’s sluggish economy, especially a burden that would stutter the economy’s one strong sector – oil production?

Part of the answer is that Trudeau is a post-industrial urbanite. Like so many modern city dwellers, the former substitute drama teacher doesn’t have a clue about how jobs are created or money is made.

Because no one in his social circle has to soil his or her hands to make a living – no one he knows has to mine the earth or harvest crops or cut timber – Trudeau imagines an economy where everyone is a computer programmer, retirement planner, social worker, barista, CBC journalist or advocate for the homeless.

He is driven by unreal thinking about the environment and ignorance about economics.

There is a regional element to Trudeau’s admission last week at the Calgary Stampede that he would tax carbon even if no other countries do. In a candid moment, Trudeau admitted he especially had problems with “certain industries,” which everyone assumed meant oilsands.

But while carbon taxing – especially taxes that single out the oilsands – would punish Alberta and the west more than the rest of the country (an old Trudeau family habit), what Young Master Trudeau is proposing would hurt the whole country.

A Canada-only tax on carbon would make it more expensive to do business in Canada. Jobs, investments and new plants would move elsewhere.

The national effects would be similar to the outcome of Ontario’s push for green-energy alternatives since 2009.

More than $10 billion in subsidies for wind, solar and bio fuel alternatives have led to no new electricity in Ontario, but have driven electricity prices up 40% or more and contributed to jobs leaving the province.

Heaven help us if Trudeau gets to spread that destruction nationwide.

 

This Article, written in May….hit the Nail, right on the head….Scary!

Warning: Reading about How the Ontario Liberals

Keep on Winning Might Make You Sick

Enough is enough.

You would think the sheer waste of taxpayer dollars through scandals and mismanagement would be enough to hang the Liberals.

Especially since, at the same time your money swirls down the toilet, the Liberals continue to run deficits (seven in a row) andIllustration: Truth and Lie pile up debt that your grandchildren’s children will still be paying off.

Yet in spite of their mistakes and outright lies (the hit parade includes: the billion-dollar gas plant cancellation and the failure to provide proper oversight of Ornge air ambulance expenses and out-of-control spending at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and elsewhere) they’ve managed to hold onto power for 11 years. How is that?

I’ll give you three reasons. (Hold on, it’s a long explanation.)

1. They buy votes with big spending promises.

George Bernard Shaw got it right. “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”

When even the tax-the-rich NDP recognize that Ontarians are taxed to the hilt and refuse to put up with any “new taxes, tolls or fees that hit middle-class families,” you know Ontario must be in financial trouble.

Net debt is projected to climb to $269.2 billion for 2013–14 and hit $324.5 billion by 2017–18 (nearly 40% of Ontario’s economy). In fact, Ontario’s debt has more than doubled since the Ontario Liberals came to power in 2003–04 when the provincial debt stood at $138.8 billion (or 27.5% of the economy).

Interest payments are the third largest expense in the budget. And right now interest rates are low. When rates go back up, each point will add another $3 billion to our annual interest payment, points out economist Jack Mintz.

But in spite of repeated warnings about the need for spending cuts, from former Liberal finance minister Dwight Duncan (who conveniently woke up to the Ontario’s debt problem in his last few months in office) and public servants in Ontario’s finance ministry, what did the Liberals propose in the budget that forced an election?

Big spending promises, of course. Billions for schools and hospitals, roads and bridges, billions more for corporate grants, and millions for a smorgasbord of social services.

With this budget, the Liberals are in fact driving toward a deficit $2.4 billion higher(or 24% more) than they previously projected—in spite of hiking taxes by almost $1 billion. The deficits planned for 2015–16 and 2016–17 also increased by $1.7 billion and $1.8 billion.

In other words, the Liberals forecast spending to jump by $3.4 billion this year, $900 million more than projected in the 2013 budget, with program spending expected to climb by nearly $3 billion to $119.4 billion.

With Ontario already in a fiscal mess, the NDP (yes, the NDP, a party not known for financial responsibility), criticized the budget as “a mad dash to escape the scandals by promising the moon and the stars.”

2. They pander to unions, whose members make up a big chunk of the electorate.  

The real beneficiary of the tax-and-spend Liberals has been the unions.

For starters, over half of Ontario’s program spending goes to pay public-sector workers their salaries and pension benefits.

What’s more, when the Liberals came into power in 2003, only 14,926 public-sector employees were making $100,000 or more. Today, 97,796 Ontario public-sector workers are on the so-called Sunshine List, an increase of 655% in just 10 years.

But, really, who can be surprised when about 70 percent of public-sector employees are unionized (compare this to the roughly 15 percent unionization rate in the private sector)?

The fact is the Liberals have pandered to unions, especially teacher’s unions, handing out massive, unaffordable pay hikes.

From 2003 to 2011, the McGuinty Liberals increased education spending by 45%, hiring 14,000 more teachers (up 10%) and increasing salaries by 24%—all while student enrollment actually dropped by 6%.

And teachers repaid the favour, “volunteering and voting for McGuinty’s Liberals in huge numbers during the past three elections.”

But following a narrow election win in 2011 (voters were angry over broken promises and higher taxes), McGuinty shifted direction, proposing to freeze teacher wages for two years and curb benefits to reduce the government’s alarming $14.4 billion deficit.

The teachers reacted with predictable outrage.

So despite all their talk about austerity, the Liberals just couldn’t say “no” to their vote-rich cash cow.

While the McGuinty government was calling for wage freezes publicly, it secretly negotiated a three percent wage increase with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents 35,000 voters, er, government workers.

And forget about Kathleen Wynne taking a firm stance on public-sector wages and benefits.

In a clear bid to win back union support, one of her first moves as premier was to negotiate an LCBO contract that gave 7,000 unionized workers a $1,600 signing bonus over two years—about $9 million— and wage increases of two% in 2015–16.

Her education minister also renegotiated new contracts with the province’s two biggest teachers unions, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, offering better maternity benefits, fewer unpaid days off, and an improved “sick-day bank.”

And the quid pro quo?

Millions of dollars spent on attack ads directed exclusively against Tory leaders in Ontario’s 2003, 2007, and 2011 elections—by a powerful coalition of special interest unions that includes the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, the Canadian Auto Workers, and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and calling itself the Working Families Coalition.

The so-called Working Families coalition first “came together in 2003 to discredit then Tory premier Ernie Eves and get Dalton McGuinty elected.” Their ad campaigns had such a big impact on the election results, they followed up with more of the same in the 2007 and 2011 elections. For this campaign, they’re just getting started, but expect a barrage of attack ads aimed squarely at Tim Hudak.

The coalition’s negative ads effectively doubles the advertising budget of the Liberals at the expense of the Tories through loose election laws around third-party advertising. Unlike political parties, third parties “can spend as much as they want, take contributions as large as they want and keep their financial backers hidden until long after the campaign is over.”

In Ontario’s 2011 general election, Working Families spent $1.6 million to help the Liberals.

Other big spenders included the Elementary Teachers’ Federation—$2.6 million—and the English Catholic Teachers’ Association, which spent $1.9 million to help defeat the PC party. For comparison’s sake, out of 21 registered political parties, only two spent more than $2 million on advertising. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation, the biggest third-party advertiser, spent more on advertising than nineteen political parties combined.

Spending records for the 2007 election (the first year third parties had to register with Elections Ontario) show a similar story. A shocking “90 per cent of the $2.3 million raised by third-party advertisers for the 2007 campaign went to organized labour or groups opposed to specific Tory policy positions.”

Plainly, Ontario’s election laws are giving Liberals with their deep-pocketed union allies an unfair advantage.

3. They reward party insiders with lucrative contracts.

In Ontario, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

From eHealth Ontario and Cancer Care Ontario to the Local Health Integration Networks, the Liberals have a history of rewarding party loyalists with “cushy, untendered contracts” and well-paid appointments.

In 2004, Mike Crawley, the then-president of the Ontario Liberals, was awarded awind power contract that guarantees his company AIM PowerGen $66,000 a day for 20 years. That’s a total of $475 million dollars.

In 2010, nearly two-thirds of the $68 million of taxpayers’ money spent on the 14 LHINs went to cover the salaries and remuneration of government-appointed board members.

Pat Dillon, the business manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council and the head of the infamous Working Families Coalition, has received a number of appointments—to Premier Wynne’s Transit Panel, the Ontario College of Trades, the WSIB Board, Infrastructure Ontario, and more.

The Globe and Mail recently reported that Ontario Liberal friends and allies were awarded millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded contracts because of loopholes in the rules surrounding government expenditures. The report goes on to say that, “while there is no indication that any of the transactions were illegitimate, the lack of transparency makes it difficult to determine what services were provided at taxpayers’ expense.”

The sad truth? It pays to be a friend of the Liberals. Ontario taxpayer, not so much.

The Ontario Liberals are long past their best-before date

After 11 years, it’s time to hold the Liberals to account.

Imagine if some pimply-faced thug robbed a gas station and got caught, he’d get what? A thousand dollars tops and some jail time.

But the Liberals who have “stolen” billions of taxpayer money through incompetence and cronyism remain unpunished.

It’s time to throw the Liberals out. They’ve inflicted enough damage on the province. It’s time they answered for their crimes against taxpayers.

 

The Left-wing Government of Ontario, is Destroying our Economy.

Government stifles business in Ontario and Quebec, report says

Canada is becoming a country of two solitudes when it comes to business investment.

Provinces are increasingly falling into one of two camps, according to a report being released Wednesday by the C.D. Howe Institute. In the West, business spending powers the economy. In much of the rest of the country, government spending is swallowing an ever greater share of economic activity, most notably in Ontario and Quebec.

The report puts a new spin on the “dead money” debate and why Canadian companies have been running up growing cash reserves since the recession.

The C.D. Howe report theorizes that governments in parts of the country may be crowding out and dissuading private investment.

Canada’s corporate cash holdings have continued to grow in recent months, according to Statistics Canada. Non-financial companies had cash holdings of $630-billion in the first quarter, up from $621-billion in the final three months of last year.

Part of the reason is that some provinces are creating a more business-friendly environment, while others are scaring away investment, argued the report’s author, Philip Cross, the former chief economic analyst at Statistics Canada and member of the C.D. Howe Institute’s Business Cycle Council.

“It’s not a case of dead money and companies not willing to invest,” he said in an interview. “You can see that in certain provinces, they are willing to invest like mad men.”

It’s more than just about the Alberta oil sands and other resources projects, Mr. Cross said. “The West has had resources for a long time. What unlocked them were good policies,” he said.

Mr. Cross said the blockage lies in Quebec, Ontario and much of Atlantic Canada, where high deficits and the prospect of higher taxes are crowding out access to capital and discouraging business investment, according to Mr. Cross.

And efforts to kickstart business investment with government money clearly are not working, he explained. “If I was a firm in Ontario, what I’m planning for next year is a hike in minimum wages, higher income taxes and the introduction of a new pension plan,” he said. “I’m dealing with all these things and I’m not planning on the future of my firm.”

Private-sector investment has grown rapidly in all four western provinces, particularly since the resource boom took off in 2003. In Alberta, business investment as a share of GDP reached 25.5 per cent in 2012, the highest of any province. Public-sector investment has stabilized at less than 3 per cent.

In much of the rest of the country, there has been a “marked shift” the other way. In Quebec and Ontario, for example, private-sector investment slumped to 7 per cent of GDP in 2012 from 10 per cent in the 1990s. Government spending in Quebec is now the highest in the country at 5.7 per cent of GDP. In Ontario, it’s roughly 4 per cent, up from 3 per cent in the mid-2000s.

A separate report released Tuesday by Toronto-Dominion Bank presents a much rosier picture of the investment environment. Senior economist Randall Bartlett is predicting that business investment is poised to “rev up” in Canada over the next two years after a long slump.

He says six things will drive investment – the strengthening U.S. economy, a rebound in corporate profits, stronger corporate balance sheets, shrinking spare capacity, low interest rates and growing business optimism.

Business investment will lead GDP growth over the next couple of years, expanding at an annual rate of 4 to 5 per cent through the rest of 2014 and in 2015, the report said. “As investment increases, so does productivity, and ultimately wages and incomes in the long term,” Mr. Bartlett said.

Follow  on Twitter: @barriemckenna

Citizens Fight the Unjust Green Energy Act, and the Lib. Gov’t


Government cannot just let Goliath win

Grimsby Lincoln News

I really didn’t think David had a chance.

No offence to David — in this case, an ordinary group of citizens who have spent an extraordinary amount of time becoming pseudo-experts on all things industrial wind turbines — but at first there didn’t appear even the slightest chance of stopping the threat of wind power. It certainly seemed that way when the turbines began to rise from the rural landscape last fall. Though I understood your efforts, it seemed as though they were futile.

Yet you pushed on, and because of you operation of the project was stalled, and the project’s status went from approved to awaiting approval.

Four out of the five were built closer to neighbouring property lines than the stipulated distance — the height of the turbine from base to hub. That’s an 80 per cent error rate. If that was a math test, they’d have failed miserably.

If your neighbour builds a shed or fence too close to your property, there are steps that you can take to correct that action. But when the something they built too close is a 95-metre tall metal tower weighing 205 metric tonnes (plus the blades), it’s a little tricky. But in this case, I don’t know how the provincial government can justify letting this madness continue.

Land owner Anne Meinen wrote to the ministry to tell them; the location of one of the turbines is impacting her ability to farm her land — something she has done for more than 40 years. One of the turbines encroaches on two of her property lines (the property is L-shaped) and limits her use of aerial technology. Meinen made these points clear in her comments on the amendment that project proponents Vineland Power Inc. and Rankin Wind Energy filed after their mapping error was discovered.

Meinen and many of the other residents didn’t want the wind turbines in the first place. One drive around the site of the towering whirly birds will clearly give you the impression of a 100 per cent neighbour disapproval rating. So to have to just accept that big business can get it wrong and still get a rubber stamp is a slap in the face of the supposed democracy we have in this country.

When former premier Dalton McGuinty said he was going to get rid of the NIMBY crowd (Not In My Backyard), I don’t think he realized just how much people are willing to fight for their rights. Rights that we have today because our forefathers fought for them. McGuinty and his Green Energy Act may have enabled big business to move ahead with their wind agendas, but it didn’t quiet the bystanders. They are doing anything but standing down, and it’s paying off.

The latest disrespect shown by big business may be the stone that helps David take Goliath down; without consent from the Ministry of the Environment, the project was turned on, on June 12. They were told that doing so would be out of compliance, but that didn’t seem to matter.

It seems that big business thinks it can walk all over the residents without any recourse, and there hasn’t been any up until this point. When it was discovered the turbines were not built to the specified setbacks the province said that’s OK, you can file an amendment. A slap on the wrist that for some, is not enough.

What will happen now? Wind turbines are turned on without warning, without permission. What recourse is there for that? Premier Wynne, you say you became the minister of agriculture to fix your party’s broken relationship with rural Ontario. Now is the time to prove you were serious. How can you let big business stomp on the toes of innocent rural residents? Of Ontarians who chose to live in the country for the peace and quiet, not for the whomp, whomp, whomp of industrial wind turbines?

Your Green Energy Act has done more to harm the concept of green energy than it has in convincing Ontarians to embrace it. The township’s efforts to attract young families is thwarted by the bad reputation the wind turbines have garnered.

Municipalities like West Lincoln and Wainfleet have turned down applications for solar projects to express their dismay at the Act. That certainly is not helping Ontario, or anyone else end their reliance on draconian oil burning technology.

Solar, biomass, hydroelectricity and yes, even wind all have a place in Ontario but there needs to be more thought on how to implement these technologies in a way that is both affordable and appropriate. Ontarians deserve a clean environment but they don’t deserve to pay the price of ludicrous subsidies to live with technology they don’t want. Perhaps it is time for government sponsored programs which install solar panels on Ontarians roofs to minimize reliance on central power generation stations.

Premier Wynne, it is now up to you to do the right thing. Will you let big business step all over the little Davids who have little more than stones to cast at the business giants threatening their peaceful environment or will you take a stand? If you rubber stamp this project you are setting a dangerous precedent in this province. By approving the amendment, you are telling big business it is OK to break the rules. You are saying it’s OK for Goliath to pick on David with no recourse.

PCC MPP Lisa McLeod, Talks About Fresh Leadership for the Conservatives!


Ontario Tories need fresh leadership: PC MPP Lisa MacLeod
A revitalized Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is important not just for PC supporters, but for all Ontarians

 

By: Lisa MacLeod Published on Mon Jun 23 2014

Ontario voters sent the Progressive Conservative Party a strong message on June 12. Despite the undeniable weaknesses of the Liberal government’s record and its credibility-stretching plan to spend more while still balancing the books, voters returned the Liberals with a majority.

 

That tells PCs that we let Ontario down by not offering an alternative that more voters were prepared to accept. We have a lot of work to do over the next four years. The party needs renewal, a new direction, and most important, fresh leadership.

 

For PCs, this is the time to look forward and face those challenges, not to indulge in endless dissection of the 2014 campaign. We must spend our energy preparing for the election in 2018, not refighting the election just past.

 

The most important decision in front of our party is choosing a new leader. There is no rush to make that choice. It’s more important that we get this right, for our party and for our province. A leadership convention will provide that opportunity.

 

We need a person who understands urban, suburban and rural concerns, one who gets the complex makeup of this province. In my own riding of Nepean-Carleton, I represent new immigrant communities, expanding suburbs and a large rural area. I also take the lead on the urban issues that affect Ottawa, our second largest city. Nepean-Carleton is a microcosm of the growing and changing Ontario that our party must represent.

 

Some in the party are looking for a quick decision on a new leader, but the challenge is not just choosing a leader. It is revitalizing our party. If we are to win the next election, the Ontario PC Party must become a broader, bigger, activist organization. It must become a movement for change. Our new leader must have wide support, not just from party elites, but from the members themselves.

 

A revitalized PC party is important not just for Conservative supporters, but for all Ontarians. Our province needs a party that will offer affordable, practical solutions to improving our health care and our children’s education, and do it within the context of reasonable taxes and a balanced budget.

 

All major parties agree that we can’t continue to pay for our services with borrowed money. The next few years will show if the Liberals can break their debt dependence. If they cannot, Ontarians will be looking for a party that they can trust to deliver the services we all need, and do it within a sustainable budget supported by an expanding economy.

 

Our most recent PC platform has been criticized for talking too much about numbers and not enough about people. Fact-based decision making is important, but we can’t overlook the human side. I’m a suburban soccer mom. I care about my child’s school, our local hospital and whether our community is safe, just like so many other Ontarians do.

 

Ontarians need a party that knows how to make their lives better in measurable ways. For example, the Schools First policy that I put forward as education critic would ensure that schools get built sooner in our rapidly expanding suburbs. Youth mental health and home care for seniors are areas that cry out for real service, not lip service. These two vulnerable groups need more help, and they aren’t getting it.

 

The 2014 Ontario election campaign will be remembered for its attack ads, and what people felt were a lack of real choices. As a province, we can’t do that again. The PC Party has a responsibility to deliver a strong and broadly acceptable choice the next time. That work starts now. Let’s embrace the challenge and deliver for Ontarians.

 

Lisa MacLeod is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Nepean-Carleton.

Aussies Prepare to Rid Themselves of the Carbon Tax Scourge!!

Carbon tax revisited in final Senate week

By AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

It may by the current Senate’s final hurrah, as its sits for one last week before the new senators take their place.

But even before it begins what amounts to a farewell lap, attention is focused squarely on the Senate that will replace it.

The Abbott government will on Monday reintroduce its carbon tax repeal laws into the parliament, in readiness for the new, more conservative upper house that take effect on July 7.

The legislation has already been knocked back once by Labor and Greens in the Senate, but the host of conservative crossbenchers are expected to pass the legislation.

“This week the government will bring the carbon tax repeal bills back to Parliament to get rid of this dodgy tax once and for all,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt says.

While signature policies such as the carbon tax are expected to be waved through by the likes of the Palmer United Party, others such as the GP co-payment face continued resistance.

Assistant infrastructure minister Jamie Briggs is confident the new senators can be talked into supporting the co-payment and reform of universities fees – two changes opposed by the PUP.

“I’m not at all sure that the positions some of the new senators have outlined will necessarily be their position in a month’s time,” Mr Briggs told Sky News on Sunday.

“When they’re in Canberra and they’ve had the discussions with the relevant ministers … I’m very confident people will understand this is the right direction.”

Environmentalists also had their minds turned to July 7, with the Climate Institute bringing two life-size dinosaur replicas to Parliament House in a last-ditch attempt to save the carbon tax.

“There are dinosaurs in politics and business who want to hold back progress,” chief executive John Connor told reporters.

“This is an appeal to all parliamentarians, particularly the new senators, not to be rushed into a vote literally when they haven’t even got their feet under their desks in parliament.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the carbon tax was bad for jobs, hurt families and didn’t help the environment.

Scrapping the tax would save the typical household $550 a year, with electricity prices to be about nine per cent lower, he said.

“It’s time to end this bad tax and to terminate Labor’s failed carbon tax experiment,” Mr Abbott said in a statement on Sunday.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/aap/article-2664876/Carbon-tax-revisited-final-Senate-week.html#ixzz35QnEX78J