McGuinty prorogues: a year to the day, and 9.4 MILLION tons of carbon pollution

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.

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robert budd
9 years ago

“The rural residents in those districts deeply and rightly resented this imposition, by force,…”
The GEA over road the municipal act to a degree that no other legislation I’m aware of did. Can someone tell me where else this was done to accommodate wind development? That’s why they had to set up the high coal use straw man and count on most Ontarioan’s believing that our grid was dirty. .
Germans and Danes have the right to decide whether turbines fit in their communities and development would then likely have their local gov’t. and citizens involved in ownership and siting.
The double standard in On. is glaring with Wynn apologizing for the gas plants by saying “we didn’t take community decisions into account ”on the same day her energy minister told municipalities they wouldn’t get to veto proposed wind projects.
These aren’t municipalities asked to accommodate a few turbines, they are massive projects that turn municipalities INTO wind projects. And they can do this with the participation of remarkably few landowners due to nature of agriculture now with multiple farm ownership. The Samsung/Pattern/Capital Power projects in ACW will total ~ 170 turbines and council is voting on a resolution to declare themselves unwilling hosts under current regs., as land agents are currently working on adjacent lands.
Disgracefully last week Samsung was also awarded an approval on the large and dense 180mw Armow project the day before Chiarelli declared the new Darlington reactors weren’t needed. Both Kincardine and Bruce County were declared unwilling hosts and yet Wynn tells the media she is working with municipalities “to get it right”.
The cancelling of the gas plants, off-shore wind and even the groundmount micro-fit solar arrays not being allowed in contact with residential has been a careful plan to insulate the urban majority from the reality of the impacts of the Greed Energy Act.
This has been a foolish corporate giveaway to attract investment by using cheap access to the landscape with very high investment returns. That’s why I admire the public owned nuclear we’re unfortunately allowing green delusion to destroy. It lifts all boats and exists lightly on our environment.

Steve Foster
9 years ago

When a government elected to represent the best interests of the people undertakes what is obviously a “foolish corporate giveaway”, using wind turbines as so much green-wash, we have to ask ourselves how these decisions get made. Was McGuinty and Co. stupid to fall for this, or was it corruption, i.e. some kind of quid pro quo with Oil/Gas corporations with VERY deep pockets, using their economic power to distort the decision-making process to serve THEIR interests and not ours? Steve: do we have any information to indicate which one of these options were most likely in play with McGuinty and Smitherman et. al.?

9 years ago

“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”

Right. A big secret that *you* know about.

And one that flies in the face of the demonstrated fact that the government said NG would replace coal, and then did just that.

And that the number of nuclear plants is the same since the program was announced, and continues to be into the distant future.

Next up! The Illuminati is keeping nuclear power down in Ontario! Don’t touch that dial!

robert budd
9 years ago

Not sure where your quote came from Maurie, or who you apply it to. Did I miss it somewhere in the above texts? If not then it’s just like the clever Liberal stategy of making up your own straw man so that you’re always sure of being able to knock it down.
The GEEA wasn’t an election plank and it was a major diversion from an effective LTEP in place. It’s hard to believe Smitherman’s powdery finger prints aren’t all over it. It is so much like his other work at Queens Park; wildly overpriced deals with the “friendly” private sector; no cost benefit analysis; little or no consultation with the interests affected.
One of the few local municipal councillors who did sit in at meeting at Queens Park prior to the GEEA unveiling was that “ they made commitments to some very large corporations that they aren’t gonna back away from them”. That conversation was 3 years back and has proven to be true, despite big political losses. Throughout the Libs stuck to “we need wind to replace coal”. Never heard from them that gas did that.
Two things that are true of the wind portion of the GEA is that you can’t swing a cat without hitting a Liberal with financial interest and that the fossil industry is also deeply invested. Where there was once little opportunity on Ontario’s grid, there is much now. And if Pickering and Darlington could be phased out as the retards in the Dirty Air Alliance constantly fantasize over the opportunities would be huge.
The other smoking gun is that anyone watching the grid on a daily basis, with our chronic overproduction and export situations in high wind/low demand times can see it’s dumb and dumber to put more wind into the current system. Not rational at all. We still have another 3000mw of wind in the already approved pipeline. No wonder they finally let the IESO curtail wind.
Anyone who followed this issue honestly would have to say either they were totally incompetent and should have their hands removed from the wheel or they are colluding with interests other than the general public’s.

9 years ago
Reply to  robert budd

I think they call manipulation of the system by whatever means to extract economic benefit beyond reasonable returns “Economic Rent Seeking”.

I think it is a polite term for what I prefer to call “predatory capitalism” in which the rich abuse their economic power to game the system under the pretence of “free markets” seeking a net transfer of wealth to themselves at the expense of everyone else, delivering NO net economic benefit to society in the process.

Privatization is the mother of all rent-seeking predations where people of significant means seek to exploit public assets to further line their pockets. The Ontario Grid is such a public asset and vultures are doing their best to get a piece of it in order to exploit us. The 99% get poorer in the process of lining the pockets of the wealthiest using assets paid (i.e. the Ontario Grid) for by all of us in the first place.

It is making me %%#$*&@*(!)*$% angry that we are being played for suckers in a most despicable cynical ploy that exploits good peoples’ desires to see our society move toward a more “green” economy in order to sell more gas and pump more crap into the air we breathe. Their genius is to put windmills up front to be “green” followed by scaremongering on things nuclear (which emits no CO2 and has the lightest environmental footprint), and then slide gas plants in the back door which will actually do 75% of the work while dumping millions of tons of garbage into the environment and locking in future profits for decades to come. Truly DESPICABLE.

I’m not sure who I am more angry at: the economic predators or the ignorant sheep who fall for their scams…

Jeff Walther
9 years ago
Reply to  robert budd

“Not sure where your quote came from Maurie, or who you apply it to. Did I miss it somewhere in the above texts? If not then it’s just like the clever Liberal stategy of making up your own straw man so that you’re always sure of being able to knock it down.”

Maurie is a long time anti-nuclear troll — probably on payroll, given how much time he has to devote to it. He is usually found at ars technica but seems to have been paid to branch out into the pro-nuclear blogs recently.

Other than refuting him for the lurkers reading, there’s no reason to pay any attention to his drivel at all.

9 years ago

Here’s an excellent talk by Elizabeth May and if you’re patient there is quite a bit about prorogation. This is a town hall meeting in Calgary, AB, Canada Elizabeth May is giving an excellent talk that qualifies as a political science lecture. It is part of her 2013 campaign “Save Democracy From Politics” which is very relevant to governments around the world not just Canada.