The Ontario Liberals in the 2011 general election lost their majority position in the provincial legislature. This was because they lost a number of key rural districts into which their green energy policies had forced enormous and enormously inefficient wind turbines. The rural residents in those districts deeply and rightly resented this imposition, by force, of green energy policies into their communities. Those who understood the economics of this imposition—wind is notoriously inefficient and therefore extremely expensive—resented the Liberals’ forced imposition of downtown-Toronto green ideology onto them all that much more. So, the first chance they got, with the 2011 general election, those residents turfed out the Liberal political candidates in their districts. And suddenly the Liberal majority at Queen’s Park was gone.
With the loss of the majority came the loss of the Liberals’ constitutional ability to control legislative committees: suddenly, the opposition parties had enough members on these committees to prevent the Liberals from simply voting down motions to investigate things they would have preferred were never investigated.
One of these things was the gas plant fiasco. The forced imposition of wind turbines into unwilling rural communities was part of a secret industrial strategy: the Liberals had decided, on the urging of the natural gas lobby, to replace Ontario’s nuclear power generators with ones that run on natural gas. Wind turbines were the public relations face of the gas strategy: because wind turbines are so physically huge, you cannot fail to see a turbine farm when you are driving past it. And if you are like most people, you can be forgiven for believing exactly what the gas lobby wants you to think: that wind is now a major part of Ontario’s electricity mix; and therefore Ontario is green.
That of course is nonsense. Wind does not now, and never will, provide a significant part of Ontario’s electricity. It physically cannot: it is too unreliable. Ontario runs on electricity, not unreliable electricity. When you get onto a subway or elevator, or when you turn your water faucet to get a drink of water, the power supply to the subway or elevator or water pump cannot fail. If the power supply were wind, it would fail, frequently. Imagine a life where that happened.
So in order to provide the actual power that they pretend wind provides, the gas lobby demanded that gas-fired plants be built. The Liberals complied. They scrambled to build gas-fired plants as quickly as possible, so that people would believe their green PR. The problem was, gas plants, like wind turbines, are deeply unpopular in the human communities where they are proposed. The Liberals found this out the hard way: when they sited gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga, two affluent communities near Toronto, the residents staged very well organized and effective uprisings. The Liberals held a number of electoral districts in these communities. Knowing they would lose the rural wind turbine seats, the Liberals could not afford to lose the seats in the gas turbine areas; those seats were more numerous. So they cancelled the gas plants, at a huge cost that they would have been able, had they won a majority in 2011, to cover up.
But they lost their majority. They could not control the committees looking into the cost of cancelling the gas plants. Hence last week’s announcement by the provincial auditor general, of that cost: $1.1 billion.
Knowing that this would ruin his government, the premier of the day did the only thing he could do: he prorogued the legislature, which effectively ended the committee inquiry into the gas plants. He announced he would resign as soon as his party chose his successor.
That prorogation and announcement were one year ago today. Since that day, Ontario gas plants, the secret plan underpinning the green PR, have dumped more than nine million tons of carbon pollution into Ontario’s air. That is a running total, which goes up each hour. You can watch that running total by following Item 2 on the right-hand sidebar of this blog.